GREENBELT, MD—Alfred Edwards, age 74, and Gloria Edwards, age 60, both of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, pleaded guilty late yesterday to harboring an alien, specifically, a Filipina national whom they arranged to bring to the United States under false pretenses.
The guilty pleas were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein, Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, and Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to their plea agreements, in October 1998, the couple arranged for a national of the Philippines to enter the United States under false pretenses. Gloria Edwards paid $5,000 to assist in covering the costs of the Filipina woman’s travel to, and entry into, the United States, including paying another individual to assist in securing the woman’s visa under false pretenses. Specifically, the Edwardses knew that the woman entered the U.S. without disclosing the true facts regarding the purpose of her visit or that she would be residing at their residence. The woman arrived in the U.S. in May 1999 in the company of the individual that Gloria Edwards had paid. Gloria Edwards picked the woman up and drove her to the Edwards’ home in Bowie, where she primarily resided until she left the residence in August 2009.
The Edwardses admitted that during the more than 10 years that the woman was in the United States, they took steps to fraudulently obtain permanent resident status for the woman, including arranging a sham marriage.
As part of their plea agreements, prior to sentencing, the Edwardses will pay $6,716.20 to satisfy the disputed amount relating to allegations that they misappropriated funds due to the estate of a relative. In addition, prior to sentencing, the couple will be required to transfer an amount, to be agreed upon by the parties, to be held in an escrow account controlled by their attorneys. These funds will be used to satisfy any restitution ordered by the Judge at sentencing.
The Edwardses each face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. has scheduled sentencing for September 20 and 21, 2012.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the Baltimore Division of the FBI for its work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein and Mr. Perez thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Lenzner and Trial Attorney Cindy Chung of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, who are prosecuting the case.