The owner of five Thai Ginger restaurants in Seattle was recently indicted for allegedly paying several people, including some of her employees, up to $20,000 to marry her relatives so they could obtain legal status to stay in this country. Varee Bradford pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit immigration fraud.
According to federal prosecutors, Bradford told an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent that she would pay him $20,000 to enter into a sham marriage. The plan, in all cases, say prosecutors, was to establish sham marriages for two years until the Thai nationals could receive their green cards.
Other indictments are expected to follow for those who allegedly accepted money to enter into the fake marriages. Meanwhile, Bradford faces a maximum prison term of five years on the conspiracy charge and 10 years on three charges of immigration document fraud. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 22.