Here's a Case of Bespoke Immigration/Marriage Fraud

By David North on August 9, 2015

In some cases of immigration/marriage fraud it is often a mass-production activity, with a ringleader lining up willing aliens with willing (and paid) citizens to go through phony marriages so that the aliens can secure legal status in the United States, as I reported earlier.

In other instances, it is a single alien who enters into a corrupt deal with an individual citizen, with the alien paying the citizen for the marriage so that the alien can obtain a green card.

Today's case is different from both types sketched above because one citizen (James Barding, a Missouri attorney who should have known better) hired another citizen (just identified as "TD" in the indictment) to marry the lawyer's Ukrainian mistress (Darya Chernova) so that she would not be ejected from the country when her F-1 visa ran out.

She ultimately secured a green card from the marriage and later was naturalized, each time swearing that she and TD lived together as wife and husband. In fact, she lived with Barding throughout these processes.

Barding, according to the indictment on PACER, the courtss e-filing system, played major roles in Chernova's case: helping to obtain a marriage license, being a witness at the "marriage", and then securing court recognition that he was the father of their child, rather than TD. He had previously worked out a cash-for-marriage deal with another U.S. citizen, but that man backed out before there was a marriage.

One cannot tell from the court documents how the case was broken, but the other day Barding pled guilty to the marriage fraud charges in federal court and now faces up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000, according to an AP report.

It is not clear from news reports what will happen to Chernova, who was also indicted. The government asked that the criminal charges be dismissed and the court agreed. She should be deported, but is the mother of two small U.S. citizen children. There is no indication that TD was indicted, as he should have been.