Man pleads guilty to arranging fake marriages for immigration benefits

Local News
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WDHN) — A Indian foreign national pleaded guilty to committing marriage and visa fraud Wednesday.

From February 2017 to August 2018, India native Ravi Buba Kolla worked on his very own business: playing matchmaker between U.S. citizens and Indian foreign nationals so they could get immigration benefits.

“The majority of the Indian foreign nationals overstayed their Visas or Student Exchange Visit Program requirements and were unlawfully residing in the United States,” a release from the Department of Justice states.

An investigation into the matter by federal and local agencies, one of which being the Coffee County Sheriff’s office, found that more than 80 fraudulent marriages were conducted in Alabama alone.

According to federal authorities, Kolla didn’t work alone, though. Krystal Cloud, 40, of Altha, Florida began helping him bring more people into the fold after getting into a fake marriage of her own in October 2017.

Cloud helped recruit around 10 people from Panama City, Calhoun County and Jackson County. She also helped Kolla make fake immigration documents by gathering personal information so the foreigners could stay.

Both pleaded guilty to their crimes, with Cloud getting sentenced to 24 months in prison for marriage and visa fraud Tuesday.

Kolla’s sentencing hearing is set for May 22 at 11:00 a.m. at the U.S. Courthouse in Tallahassee. He faces up to five years in prison for conspiracy to commit marriage and visa fraud and 20 years for money laundering conspiracy.

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