A Tajikistan national has been charged with federal counts of marriage fraud and conspiracy after authorities discovered he paid a Pennsylvania woman between $9,000 and $10,000 to marry him in 2009 so he could obtain a green card, according to the Beaver County Times.
Immigration officials said Mirzodzhon Mirzomatov met the woman online on the social networking site Mocospace in 2009. After chatting for a few weeks, the newspaper said Mirzomatov offered to pay the woman up to $15,000 if she would marry him so he could qualify for a green card. They were married on July 20, 2009 after which the woman told authorities she drove Mirzomatov back to his apartment before she returned to her parents house.
When Mirzomatov filed a petition for the green card with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Pittsburgh, authorities told the paper he allegedly brought a lease for his apartment that the woman had signed, along with information from a joint bank account and jointly filed income tax return. The source said the woman has not been charged with any crimes.
Mirzomatov could face up to 10 years in prison, a $500,000 fine, or both if he is found guilty, reported the paper.
The Center for Immigration Studies reports that marriage to an American citizen is still the most common way foreign nationals qualify for green card status. The organization said more than 25 percent of all green cards issued in 2007 were to spouses of US citizens.