A Worcester man is charged with committing marriage fraud after investigators claim he wed six different women from sub-Saharan Africa over 10 years as part of an elaborate immigration benefits scheme.
Peter Hicks allegedly filed for spousal immigration benefits for four of his six wives — including applications for them to obtain permanent residency in the United States, according to newly unsealed U.S. District Court documents.
In return, he was paid by two other men, not named in the filings, to marry the women and to recruit other U.S. citizens to do the same with other foreign nationals, according to an affidavit signed by Special Agent Robert Rice of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations.
The marriages took place between 2003 and 2013, according to the filing.
On his immigration benefits applications, Hicks claims to have divorced his first wife on Jan. 3, 2011, after having already married four other women, according to Rice’s affidavit.
Hicks then claimed he divorced his third wife on Jan. 11, 2011 — eight days after he had divorced his first, according to the filing. He divorced his fourth wife in 2016, according to the affidavit.
There are no records to show Hicks ever divorced the other three wives, according to the affidavit.
Rice claims that, during an interview in 2009, Hicks admitted to marrying three of his wives to obtain immigration benefits for them.
Nonetheless, Hicks went on to marry a woman from Ghana in 2013, then filed an application that, if approved, would have allowed the women to file for permanent resident status, according to the court filing.
In a subsequent interview in 2014, Hicks allegedly told federal investigators that he had found God and wanted to “set the record straight,” admitting to marrying multiple African nationals and naming two men who had arranged them.
Hicks’ federal public defender did not return messages seeking comment yesterday.
Bob McGovern contributed to this report.
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