LAWFUEL – Legal Newswire – A Russian national who married a man after he responded to her craigslist.org advertisement seeking a spouse so she could stay in the United States has been convicted of federal charges related to the bogus marriage.
At the conclusion of a one-day bench trial Tuesday afternoon, United States District Judge John F. Walter determined that Yuliya M. Kalinina, 25, of Marina Del Rey, was guilty of marriage fraud and aiding and abetting the making of false statements.
The man she married – Benjamin C. Adams, 30, a U.S. citizen who resides in West Los Angeles – pleaded guilty last month to marriage fraud and making false statements.
The evidence presented at the trial showed that Kalinina came to the United States in 2003 on a visa, which expired in October 2003. Kalinina posted 12 advertisements on craigslist in late 2005 and early 2006. In her advertisements, Kalinina said she sought to marry a United States citizen for the purpose of obtaining permanent resident status. Kalinina offered her would-be spouse as much as $15,000, stating: “Green Card Marriage – Will pay $300/month Total $15,000” and “This is strictly platonic business offer, sex not involved. NOT required to live together.”
In January 2006, Adams responded to Kalinina’s advertisements on Craigslist and agreed to be part of the sham marriage. Approximately one month after their first email exchange, Kalinina and Adams were “married.” Kalinina’s live-in boyfriend, Dmitri Chavkerov, an Internet-ordained minister, conducted the ceremony. Kalinina later leased a new Ford Mustang for Adams.
A government witness testified that Kalinina proposed a marriage of convenience to him, but he refused, explaining to her that such a marriage would be illegal. The evidence at trial also showed that Kalinina entered into another sham marriage in Las Vegas in early 2005, but that marriage was annulled about three months later.
Kalinina is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Walter on April 28. She faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in federal prison.
Adams is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Walter on April 7. He also faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
This case is the product of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, Office of Fraud Detection and National Security.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Jeff P. Mitchell
Domestic Security and Immigration Crimes Section