Indian pleads guilty to marriage and visa fraud

Last Updated 16 March 2019, 09:22 IST

An Indian man in the US has pleaded guilty to the charges of running a fake marriage racket through which he helped illegal immigrants, mostly Indians, to get married to American citizens, and helping them stay in the country.

The man identified as 47-year-old Ravi Babu Kolla, who was residing in Florida's Panama City, has been detained.

His sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 22 at the US Courthouse in Tallahassee.

His co-conspirator Krystal Cloud, 40, was sentenced to two years of imprisonment for marriage and visa fraud conspiracy after he pleaded guilty on December 28, 2018. She is a US citizen.

Between February 2017 and August 2018, Kolla operated an immigration marriage fraud business in Bay County that recruited US citizens to marry Indian foreign nationals to gain immigration benefits, prosecutors said Thursday.

An investigation identified over 80 fraudulent marriages that were performed in Alabama as part of Kolla's scheme, the Department of Justice said.

After entering a fraudulent marriage in October 2017, Cloud began recruiting US citizens to marry Indian nationals.

She directly recruited or participated in the recruitment of 10 or more US citizens from Panama city and rural Calhoun and Jackson Counties, the prosecutors alleged.

Kolla faces a maximum of five years in prison for conspiracy to commit marriage and visa frauds and a maximum of 20 years in prison for money laundering conspiracy.

(Published 16 March 2019, 09:19 IST)

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