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Authorities arrest 19 in phony marriage scheme

Published September 8, 2006

ARLINGTON, Va. - Authorities arrested 19 people Thursday after uncovering a scheme that arranged as many as 1,000 phony marriages in northern Virginia between U.S. citizens seeking cash and illegal immigrants seeking green cards.

Many of those who were married never met until they showed up at the courthouse to apply for their marriage license, said U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg.

"We don't normally take an opinion on matters of the heart, but it's safe to say in this case that we do not believe in love at first sight," Rosenberg said.

The arrests came after a three-year investigation. In all, 22 people were charged, and 19 have so far been arrested, authorities said.

Among those charged were "facilitators" who brokered the marriages for fees ranging from $2,500 to $6,000 between illegal immigrants who wanted a marriage as a way to obtain permanent residency and U.S. citizens who received initial payments of $500 plus monthly installments totaling up to $3,600 for participating, authorities said.

Most of those involved in the scheme were from Ghana, Rosenberg said. The charges include immigration fraud and marriage fraud, punishable by 10 years and 5 years in prison, respectively.

Man's arrest related to Phoenix killing case

PHOENIX - Police investigating eight deadly attacks blamed on the "Baseline Killer" have arrested a man in two 2005 sexual assaults connected to the case, authorities said Thursday.

Police have forensic evidence to connect Mark Goudeau, 42, to two sexual assaults that occurred on Sept. 20, Phoenix police Chief Jack Harris said.

"This suspect has been arrested for the sexual assault of two victims in one case only and is not connected to any of the other offenses in this series at this time," Harris said.

He stressed that the evidence that led to Goudeau's arrest was not the same evidence that linked 11 of the 23 crimes connected to the Baseline Killer.

Goudeau was booked into jail while witnesses from the 2005 attack were called to look at a photo lineup, police spokesman Andy Hill said.

"We still consider all those other cases open at this point," Hill said. "The investigation is continuing and we have a lot of work ahead of us."

The man's wife, Wendy Carr, told the Associated Press that police had arrested the wrong man.

Girl assaulted by up to 20 boys, authorities say

MILWAUKEE - An 11-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by as many as 20 boys as a 16-year-old girl watched and told her what sex acts to perform, authorities say in the latest mob attack to rock Milwaukee and set off another round of civic soul-searching.

"It almost leaves me speechless. It is just senseless acts of violence. It is inhumane. It is embarrassing to the city of Milwaukee and its people. ... There should be outrage," said Barbara Nuell-Moore, director of the neighborhood-improvement group Project Respect.

The 16-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy have been charged in juvenile court in the alleged attack, which authorities say took place Monday in a house. A 40-year-old man said in court papers to have confessed to having sex with the child may also be charged, authorities said.

Coroner has material for grand jury in La. deaths

NEW ORLEANS - New Orleans' coroner said Thursday that he has the material he needs to present findings to a grand jury that will consider indictments against a doctor and two nurses accused of killing patients in the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina.

The findings will include autopsy and toxicology reports and an official classification of the four deaths involved. Orleans Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan has said he would wait to review them before asking a grand jury to look into the deaths.

[Last modified September 8, 2006, 02:19:57]

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