Immigration - POSTED: 2008/01/17 14:08
A 30-year-old man pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges that he married a woman from Russia so she could obtain U.S. immigration status and remain in the country.
Benjamin Claude Adams of Los Angeles pleaded guilty to two federal felony charges of marriage fraud and making a false statement.
There was no plea agreement, U.S. attorney spokesman Thom Mrozek said.
Adams faces up to five years in federal prison for each count at his April 7 sentencing, Mrozek said.
Adams' attorney, Deputy Federal Public Defender Kimberly Savo, did not immediately respond to a phone message Wednesday seeking comment.
Prosecutors said Adams, a U.S national, met 25-year-old Yuliya Mikhailovna Kalinina in January 2006 after responding to an online ad on Craigslist offering prospective husbands up to $15,000 to marry her.
The advertisement reportedly cast the arrangement as a "Green Card Marriage."
Adams and Kalinina, who was living in Marina del Rey, wed the next month in a ceremony performed by Kalinina's live-in boyfriend, Dmitri Chavkerov, an ordained minister of a Web-based church, prosecutors said.
Adams and Kalinina were arrested on Nov. 29 at their homes by U.S. immigration agents.
Kalinina pleaded not guilty to marriage fraud charges on Dec. 17 and is scheduled for trial on Feb. 5.
Her attorney, Dale Rubin, has previously said she didn't know it was illegal to marry for a green card, which he said was evidenced by the blatant language in her ad.
Adams and Kalinina are both free on bond, Mrozek said.