Ex-GI’s conviction spotlights sham marriages

Army Times
October 24, 2012
By Joe Gould – Staff writer

A former Kansas soldier entered into a sham marriage so he could get more pay and benefits, and make his Jamaican bride a legal immigrant.

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U.S. District Judge Monti Belot said Priest had a “higher responsibility” than others since he had taken an oath to serve the country. He said the former soldier violated that oath when he fraudulently obtained housing and subsistence benefits given to married soldiers.

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It’s difficult to prove fraud in most contract marriage cases, they said. A prosecutor would have to show the marriage was conceived for fraudulent purposes, or perhaps that it was never consummated.

“It’s almost like you have to go into their bedroom and say, ‘Are y’all really married?’” said Bill Cassara, a former Army judge advocate.

Cassara said he handled a case in which prosecutors argued a soldier’s wife was in a relationship with another woman. “I said, ‘How do you know she’s not bisexual?’ and they realized they couldn’t prove their case,” he said.

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