Soldier gets probation in marriage fraud scheme
Posted February 10, 2010 10:44 a.m. EST
Updated February 10, 2010 6:56 p.m. EST
New Bern, N.C. — A Fort Bragg soldier who married a Russian woman in order to get her into the United States and claim higher benefits for himself was sentenced Tuesday to probation for the fraud.
Sgt. Wesly Farris, 23, pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, and he was sentenced to three years on probation and ordered to pay $48,432 in restitution.
Farris had asked to be placed on probation so that he could deploy overseas with his unit.
Authorities said Farris and another soldier, Stephen Schneider, married Russian women in order to get higher pay and move off post.
After a civil ceremony, the women returned to New York, while the soldiers filed immigration papers for the women and personal requests for increased living allowances from the Army, authorities said.
One of the women, Tatyana Urazova, who married Schneider, was sentenced Tuesday to six months in prison. Because she has been in jail since her arrest last summer, she was given credit for time served and was released.
Svetlana Kaloshina, who married Farris, was sentenced Wednesday to two years on probation.
Both women were going through immigration proceedings to determine if they will be deported, authorities said.
Prosecutors said the marriage fraud cost the government at least $200,000 in wages and benefits.