2022 | Courts

Germantown couple indicted on charges of conspiring to commit passport, wire fraud

Accused of trying to get fraudulent passports for their children, illegally obtaining child care subsidy payments

share this

File image

A Germantown couple has been indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit passport, wire and bankruptcy fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland announced Monday.

Andrews Odura Brown, 39, and Charmaine Miesha Brown, 43, were indicted Friday on charges of conspiracies to commit passport fraud and wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and bankruptcy fraud, and of making false statements in a bankruptcy proceeding, according to a press release.

Andrews Oduro Brown, a Ghanaian citizen, came to the United States in May 2013 and married Charmaine Brown, a U.S. citizen, eight months later, according to the indictment. Andrews became a permanent resident in the U.S. through his marriage in 2021.

Between 2014 and 2021, the couple lived in Germantown with Andrews Brown’s two children and four of Charmaine Brown’s children, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The indictment states that the couple conspired to obtain U.S. passports for family members who were not U.S. citizens through the use of false statements and “fraudulent identity documents.” They also made arrangements for the family members to travel to the U.S. once they received the fraudulently issued passports, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In one instance in 2014, Charmaine Brown applied for a passport in the name of her son, but the application had a photo of one of Andrews Brown’s children, according to the indictment. Andrews’ child, referred to as Child A, then allegedly used a fraudulent passport to enter the country illegally.

The indictment also alleges that the couple submitted a Ghanaian birth certificate while applying for a passport in the name of Child A. The birth certificate falsely stated that Charmaine Brown was Child A’s mother, according to the indictment.

Additionally, the indictment alleges that the couple applied for a passport in the name of another of Andrews’ children, Child B, and similarly submitted a fraudulent Ghanaian birth certificate.

The Germantown couple is also accused of conspiring to receive state child care subsidy payments they were not entitled to between 2016 and 2021, according to the indictment. The Browns allegedly falsely told Maryland officials that a friend was watching their children, when in fact Andrews posed as a paid child care provider to his own child and stepchildren, according to the press release. The indictment alleges that the Browns received more than $95,000 in child care subsidy payments that they were not entitled to.

The indictment also alleges that in March 2018, the Germantown couple defrauded creditors by filing a fraudulent Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition using the name and part of the Social Security number of someone they knew, seeking the discharge of more than $80,000 in debts and obligations to the state. The Browns allegedly caused the entry of a discharge order for more than $49,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The Browns could face more than 30 years in prison if convicted on the charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Court records for the Browns were not immediately available Monday afternoon.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com