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Woman accused of arranging fake marriages

Dec. 30, 2008 at 11:44 AM

SANTA ANA, Calif., Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Prosecutors allege Jie Hua Zhou of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., arranged dozens of fake marriages to help foreign nationals live in the United States.

Zhou, 35, pleaded not guilty Monday in U.S. District Court to charges of conspiracy to induce aliens to enter or reside illegally, The Orange County (Calif.) Register reported Tuesday.

Zhou's alleged sham marriages were discovered during "Operation Newlywed Game," run by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in Orange County in 2005, said federal immigration officials.

Zhou allegedly offered money, sometimes as much as $10,000, to U.S. citizens if they would marry Chinese citizens who wanted to live in the United States, the Register reported.

Immigrants were charged between $20,000 and $50,000 for Zhou's alleged services, which included arranging for fake wedding photos, opening joint bank accounts and filing joint tax returns, the indictment said.

Zhou remains free on $100,000 bond, the Register reported.

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