NYC woman pleads not guilty in fake-marriages case

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York woman is accused of having fake marriages with 10 men as part of an immigration scam, including one who was deported in 2006 after a Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation into threatening statements against the U.S.

Liana Barrientos pleaded not guilty Friday to two counts of filing a false instrument — a marriage application and license — in the Bronx. She and her lawyer refused to comment afterward.

Assistant District Attorney Jessica Lupo said during one period, Barrientos was supposedly married to eight men at the same time in the New York City area.

The case was brought to the district attorney’s attention by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security’s Investigation Division.

Prosecutors say the fake grooms were natives of Egypt, Turkey, Georgia, Pakistan, Mali, the Czech Republic and Bangladesh.

Seven of the men filed for permanent status based on marriages to her. “When some of them were denied they filed for divorce” and refiled for legal status using other marriages, Assistant District Attorney Jessica Lupo said.

In one case, Barrientos acknowledged “receiving money for her actions,” the prosecutor said.

But she also told Homeland Security that she had never seen nine of the men before, Lupo said.

Barrientos, who could face four years in prison if convicted, was released without bail to await her next court date, on May 18.


Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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