Navy Busts Marriage Fraud Ring

Dozens of sailors charged with wedding foreigners for profit
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2008 9:25 AM CDT
USS Wasp arrives in Halifax on Wednesday, June 20, 2007. Two of the sailors arrested in the marriage scam served on the Wasp.   (AP Photo/CP, Andrew Vaughan)
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(Newser) – Dozens of US sailors and Eastern European women have been arrested for their part in a purported mass-marriage fraud ring, CNN reports. Sailors allegedly tied the knot with women they barely knew, netting the wives green cards and the sailors marriage benefits totaling roughly $500,000. “What we see are small pockets of friends forming this conspiracy,” said the investigating agent.

The ring in question was at Naval Station Norfolk, but officials say similar schemes could be in place at other bases. The sailors would meet the women at nearby bars and sometimes marry them within hours, documents show. One bride was found in an apartment with her boyfriend. “It’s not an illegal marriage,” she protested as police hauled her away.