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Bragg soldiers indicted in sham marriage scheme

Posted September 22, 2009

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— Two Fort Bragg soldiers have been charged with entering into fake marriages with Russian women in order to move off post and legitimize the women's immigration status.

A five-count federal indictment alleges that soldiers Wesley Farris and Stephen Schneider married the women in 2005 and 2006 after meeting them through brothers Alexander "Sasha" Manin and Pavel "Pasha" Manin. The brothers collected $5,000 fees from the women for arranging the marriages, according to the indictment.

Civil marriage ceremonies took place in Fayetteville the same day or the day after the soldiers met the women at a Fayetteville bus stop, the indictment states. The women would then return to New York, while the soldiers filed immigration papers for the women and personal requests for increased living allowances from the Army, allowing them to move off post.

The indictment alleges that the Manin brothers arranged at least one other bogus marriage involving an unidentified Fort Bragg soldier.

The Manin brothers and two women also were indicted in the alleged scheme. The brothers made their initial appearance in federal court in Raleigh on Tuesday.

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