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Bucks Woman Pleads Guilty to Orchestrating Marriage Scams For Immigrants

By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A 57-year-old Bucks County woman today pleaded guilty to federal charges of arranging phony marriages to help others evade US immigration laws.

Federal prosecutor Terri Marinari says defendant Larissa Hlukha told a secretly cooperating witness that the whole process would cost between $20,000 and $25,000.

And she claimed to have many satisfied prior clients.

“We documented in this case approximately ten fraudulent marriages,” Marinari said after the court proceeding, “in addition to the one arranged during the course of the undercover operation.”

Marinari says the cooperating witness paid $8,000 and, on the way to the courthouse, was told by the defendant the woman she had chosen for him wasn’t a good choice but she had obtained him a new spouse — a better fit.

Hlukha coached the couples what to say during interviews to show the marriages were bona fide, and in at least one case a photo album had been fabricated to go with the immigration paperwork.

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