Indian man gets 7 years for arranging 80 fake marriages

Posted at 5:13 AM, Jun 21, 2019

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — An Indian man living in Florida has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison for arranging more than 80 fraudulent marriages.

Court records show that 47-year-old Ravi Babu Kolla was sentenced Thursday in Panama City federal court. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiracy to commit marriage and visa fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

A federal investigation began in 2017 after authorities noticed an unusually large number of marriages in rural Alabama counties involving Indian men who were unlawfully in the U.S. and women from Bay County, Florida. Authorities say each woman was promised $12,000 for a fraudulent marriage so that the men could gain immigration benefits.

Homeland Security Investigations says about $700,000 passed through Kolla's bank accounts during their investigation.