CUPERTINO (CBS SF) – A Nepalese man with ties to the South Bay has pleaded guilty to paying a Maine woman to marry him to obtain a green card and stay in the United States.
According to the Bangor Daily News, 29-year-old Eilove Shrestha of Cupertino pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit marriage fraud and marriage fraud on Monday.
Court documents say Shrestha had been living in North Carolina when his work visa was about to expire last June. He was searching for a woman online to marry in order to gain permanent resident status and 29-year-old Marena Mushero of Hampden, Maine agreed to marry Shrestha for $13,000, to be paid in installments.
The two agreed to be married by a notary public in a Bangor-area restaurant June 25th, according to court documents. The pair also opened joint bank and cellphone accounts.
Authorities said the sham marriage was revealed after Mushero was jailed on a probation violation more than a month later and after Shrestha stopped paying her.
Mushero pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and was sentenced to five years of probation.
Shrestha, who has yet to be sentenced, faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The newspaper reports that Shrestha is free on $5,000 bail.
The Daily News also reported that under the federal sentencing guidelines, the recommended sentence is between zero and six months, with probation a possibility.