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Boyfriend created fake marriage documents with his ex so that she could have residency in the US. Do I tell him I know? What do I do now?

Tagged as: Big Questions, Cheating, Dating, The ex-factor, Troubled relationships, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (17 May 2017) 6 Answers - (Newest, 18 May 2017)
A female United States age 26-29, anonymous writes:

I live with my boyfriend of a year. We moved in together 2 months ago and everything has been wonderful from the start of our relationship. Today I finally unpacked our last box. I opened a notebook I didn't recognize and it was a journal he wrote in 3 years ago. He wrote about how he and his ex created fake marriage documents awhile ago (when they were younger) so she could have residency in the USA. They broke up 2 years ago amicably.

Curious, I read his email while he was away and saw that they had filed 2015 tax returns jointly. There was another email with the same accountant who asking to confirm that he and his "wife" are filing separately this year. My boyfriend and I both work from home, share the same friends, and are literally together 24/7 whether doing or own thing or not. I know he and his ex are in contact very occasionally only for business purposes. They lived together for 5 years previously.

I am in disbelief. Do I approach him and how? Do I show him I found and read the journal? Will this cause legal problems in the future if we get married? What would you do?

Would you forgive him for being young and dumb?

View related questions: broke up, his ex, moved in

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland + , writes (18 May 2017):

aunt honesty agony auntI agree do the background check and see if he is actually married, faking it would have been quite a job. If he did fake it you need to then wonder will he get caught? Because if he does he and she will go to prison and yes off course this could effect you and your future if you decide to get married. If he faked being married and not having a fake divorce when you both join your taxes together they will find out. Get the background check before you say anything to him and let us know.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (17 May 2017):

Filing a false tax return is a felony. Whether you tell or not, they might do an audit that will discover their marriage isn't legally documented. Under the current administration in the U.S.; the Dept. Of Immigration is cracking down on proper citizenship documentation. If they review her documents, they will know if they're fake. They are being more thorough now than they may have in the past.

Defrauding the government and receiving funds could result in serious consequences.

I'm afraid you will have to confront him about it. That false tax return could turn-out to be pretty serious; and she could end-up deported. There's no telling when this matter could be discovered. At best, he'd better find himself a lawyer and seek legal advice.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (17 May 2017):

Honeypie agony auntDo a background check on him. It's $20 max and it will tell you whether not this marriage was fake or not.

INS are not easily fooled when it comes to documents, so I am a bit doubting that they "so easily" could create fake documents that convinced ANYONE they are married.

I know when we (my husband and I ) went through my INS procedure, they ACTUALLY called up the city hall we were married at. A marriage certificate needs a raised seal and forgive me for saying that, but if they could FAKE that... I'd be impressed.

My guess is? They actually did marry. So are they actually divorced yet?

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A female reader, YouWish United States + , writes (17 May 2017):

YouWish agony auntUhh, breaking his trust over snooping should be the LEAST of your worries right now. This isn't about trying to dig up dirt because you saw him flirting with a co-worker.

This has nothing to do with being "young and dumb", especially if the joint taxes filed were from 2015! This is LAST YEAR!! This isn't "in the past". This is the PRESENT.

This is one of two things:

1. They got married for real, and he lied to you. If this is the case, go do a background check on your boyfriend, and you'll see the legal proof of an actual marriage that took place between the two. This would explain the joint filing of tax returns, and I suspect that he hasn't divorced her, and so that makes him a MARRIED MAN, sham marriage or not.


2. He just committed a VERY SERIOUS FELONY against the federal government. He perjured the IRS, skipped out on taxes, and that is extremely serious. He'll go to prison for it, she'll go to prison for it, his assets will be seized, and the IRS usually takes 6-7 years to catch stuff like this. If you are anywhere near this guy when that happens, like a joint house or lease on an apartment, joint bank account, joint phone bills, joint car deed, joint ANYTHING WHATSOEVER, you are also going to be in trouble, and your assets will be considered in forfeiture along with his once you start mingling money or expenses in any way, shape or form. You're living with him now, and I suggest you get to the bottom of this RIGHT NOW, or you need to STOP living with him. This is NOT a matter of simply lying about a marriage. This is a felony against the IRS. Tax fraud is how they caught Al Capone when murder and bootlegging and other crime boss stuff didn't, and he died at Alcatraz. The government treats people who cheat on their taxes more harshly than they do child molesters, drug dealers, and murderers I'm sorry to say.

Before you tell him, do the background check on him to see whether or not he ACTUALLY married her. I hate to say this, but it will actually be better for you if he *did* marry her, because the latter, defrauding the IRS, is extremely serious, and you need to get away from him like he's radioactive if this is the case, because your credit rating, your assets, your college prospects, everything is in jeopardy for as long as you're living with him.

He is STILL lying about his marriage status if an accountant is talking with him about filing separately this year. He wrote in a journal that this marriage certificate is fake? This is really really bad. This is more than "dealbreaker" bad.

The reason I am telling you to do an actual background check without him knowing it is because if the worse of these things are true and he DID fake a marriage and IS defrauding the government over it, then you need to call a lawyer and find out how you can extricate yourself from the situation, because there is a point where if you, knowingly keep living with and going along with his life where he is still "married-filing-separately" and since you were dating for a year, and he filed the fraudulent joint tax return in 2016 (for 2015, BTW, which is only a year ago), you will be held responsible for what you know. As in, you're aiding and abetting. As in, you're an accomplice, as in, you're complicit in this.

As in, you need to find a good pro-bono lawyer to talk to about what to do next, because if the marriage was a lie and you're living with a tax felon and now hiding his secrets, the mud is going to stick to you and you'll be looking at some big problems.

Like I said, you'd better hope like hell that he ACTUALLY married this woman, because all that means is that your boyfriend is a married liar who misrepresented who his ex was to you. In which case, you break up with him and leave him.

OR, if he FAKED his marriage and ACTUALLY defrauded the IRS, then you call a lawyer and get away from him now and protect yourself, because he's in big trouble with the law.

But what you can't do is close your eyes and pretend you didn't see it. You were the one that went digging through his email. You were the one who went digging through his journal. This is a good cautionary tale for people who snoop - in this case, either way this goes, your life is about to drastically change.

Go do the background check, and if he was never married, then go find a lawyer now. As for confronting him, if he's a tax felon, you'll want to move out of the house suddenly before you do confront him. Get a new place to live NOW, because he's in big trouble. Otherwise, if you see a lawful marriage license registered in his state, then look also for a Dissolution of Marriage court record. Then confront him with your findings and make your decision on whether or not his lying to you about that is a dealbreaker. I'm guessing that either way, you two are done. Like I said, you better PRAY that he's actually married to her.

I wish I had something more hopeful, but you're in very hot water now. Talk to your parents about this now as well as anyone you know who you can move in with temporarily in a pinch. I really hope you didn't move in with him and sign a new lease together, because that would be bad.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (17 May 2017):

He's wrong for hiding a fake MARRIAGE. That is something serious. He was never truly honest and open with you.

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A male reader, N91 United Kingdom + , writes (17 May 2017):

N91 agony auntWhat are you expecting confronting him to achieve?

It's already happened, it can't be changed can it? He was clearly in love with his ex and wanted to live with her and went to whatever lengths he had do to make it happen.

If you have a good relationship, why would you ruin it by bringing this up? Seriously give me one positive outcome from this conversation? What good would come from it? You will more than likely break his trust from snooping.

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