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Sailor Marriages Called Fraud

April 12, 2006|From the Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Eight sailors were charged Tuesday with arranging sham marriages to Polish and Romanian women to help the women obtain U.S. citizenship and to collect bigger military housing allowances for themselves.

An investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement found that none of the women lived with the sailors they married.

In all, the sailors received $35,000 in fraudulent basic housing allowance payments, investigators said. One sailor was allegedly getting $1,836 per month. The Navy has suspended the payments.

Basic housing allowance is a tax-free payment that active-duty members of the U.S. military receive to offset their housing costs if they do not live on base. The amount is based on location, marital status and the number of dependents.

One of the women, a Polish nanny, was also charged, and authorities were seeking seven other women.

Each paid $6,000 for the weddings to the sailors so they could petition for U.S. citizenship, according to U.S. Atty. Paul Perez.

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