Andrew Welsh-Huggins (Canadian Press)
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Men from Estonia and Uzbekistan were sentenced to prison on Wednesday for participating in a fraud ring that charged a $17,000 fee to arrange sham marriages for Russian and other Eastern European nationals seeking permanent residence in the U.S.
The brides typically were young, poor women desperate for cash.
Dmitry Pani, who is from Estonia, and fellow ringleader Hasan Salohutdinov, who is from Uzbekistan, were the first to be sentenced. Seven co-defendants were to be sentenced on federal fraud charges later in the day.
While prosecutors documented 11 fake marriages, they say Pani may have perpetrated substantially more.
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Ohio sham marriages paired Eastern European nationals seeking US residency with poor brides