Now divorced, Elena Maria Lopez lives in hiding. The State of New Jersey issued her a special protected address, something reserved for domestic violence victims in serious danger. In 2016, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials warned her to protect herself from "the dangerous man" she had married and sponsored into the United States. In 2017, she testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee about her case, lax citizen protections and DHS incompetence.
Lopez is a former political journalist and financial writer. She developed the nasty habit of chain-smoking cigars during her divorce by justifying it as her “Buddhist breathing technique.”
Educated at Rutgers University in public policy and politics, she has advanced training in finance. Lopez's divorce lawyer also trained her in legal research to help her fight her pending marriage annulment case in civil court, a difficult and rare avenue for victims of marriage fraud.
In 2003, she launched the very first Web site on the Internet about immigration fraud. While many of the initial people contacting her were victims, she soon had high-ranking members of congress, the Department of Homeland Security, the F.B.I., think tanks, attorneys and journalists contacting her for data, research and national security trends. She offered a free legal guide to help victims understand the process and protect their interests. (Divorce attorneys know nothing about immigration law; Immigration lawyers don’t want marriage fraud victims to set legal precedents and often refuse to help them.)
After learning of Lopez’s incredible experience and research around immigration fraud, a published author and fellow journalist talked Lopez into writing a memoir. Lopez chain smoked cigars while writing the manuscript to deal with stress.
She was eventually diagnosed and treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Developing PTSD was not only a reaction to her husband’s repeated attacks, but the refusal of congressional members, bureaucrats and various levels of law enforcement to protect her from a violent man that professionals described as a sociopath.
Lopez is currently looking for a publisher.