Russian Woman Advertised for ‘Spouse’ on Cragslist.com
LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – A West Los Angeles man and the Russian national who he married last year were arrested today by federal immigration officials after being charged with marriage fraud for allegedly entering into a sham marriage so the woman could obtain documents that would allow her to remain in the United States.
Benjamin C. Adams, 30, a U.S. citizen, and Yuliya M. Kalinina, 25, of Marina Del Rey, were arrested at their respective residences this morning by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
According to the criminal complaint that charges the pair, Kalinina posted eight advertisements on Craigslist.com 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 enter into the scheme with Kalinina. Approximately one month after their first email exchange, Kalinina and Adams were married. Kalinina’s live-in boyfriend, Dmitri Chavkerov, an Internet-ordained minister, wed the two defendants. Kalinina later leased a new Ford Mustang for Adams.
“For years, people have sought to use sham marriages to illegally gain immigration benefits, but this is the first case we’ve uncovered where the alleged perpetrators used the Internet to orchestrate the scheme,” said Robert Schoch, special agent in charge for the ICE office of investigations in Los Angeles. “Marriage fraud and other types of immigration benefit fraud pose a serious threat to our national security and the integrity of our nation’s legal immigration system. As these arrests demonstrate, cyberspace offers no protection for those attempting to evade our laws.”
A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Kalinina and Adams are scheduled to make initial appearances this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles.
The charge of marriage fraud carries a statutory maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.
This case is the product of an investigation by ICE and U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, Office of Fraud Detection and National Security.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Curtis A. Kin
Assistant United States Attorney Jeff P. Mitchell
Release No. 07-150