Serial Groom' Marries 11 Wives - INS Files Complaint
A complaint filed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) asserts that Manuel Febus has illegally tried to gain permanent residency for non-U.S. citizens by marrying them. The complaint was triggered by an immigrant petition that was filed for a woman that he married on Valentine's Day in 1997. In the petition, Mr. Febus claimed to have no prior wives, when in reality he had married at least 10 other times! The most recent wife says that she agreed to pay $5500 to someone to find her a husband, officials don't know if a fee was charged in any of the other cases.
Most of the women who Febus has married have included pictures of themselves and Febus in the petitions. He has used many different aliases, including: Jose Diaz, Carlos Caraballo, and William Velasquez. The chairman of the Immigration, Naturalization, and Americanism section of the New Jersey Bar Association, Robert Frank, said, "I can remember cases where people were married three or four times, but not 11." He says, "...fraudulent marriage cases tend to hurt people who submit real applications."
He is now free on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond and the judge agreed to postpone the presentation to the grand jury because prosecutors and the public defender are discussing a plea agreement.
Non-residents who marry U.S. citizens and subsequently apply for their green cards must go through interviews with INS examiners to prove that their marriage is valid. This is a long and difficult process. Some applicants bring documents to the interviews such as photo albums and love letters to prove the validity of the marriage. If the marriage is deemed to be valid, the applicant is granted a two-year conditional residence, after which time the couple must return for a follow-up interview.