Worcester Woman Admits to Three Marriages at Same Time

Lee Hammel, Sunday Telegram, August 10, 2012

A Worcester woman admitted yesterday in U.S. District Court that she was married to three men at the same time in a scheme to help them obtain a green card to stay in the United States and to help her make money.

Melissa Ann Lewis, 42, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud and misuse of immigration visas. {snip}

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Kanwit said that she and three foreign nationals took out marriage licenses in three communities — Pawtucket, R.I., Worcester and Southbridge, on Jan. 20, July 6, and Oct. 2, respectively, all in 2006. When she married a Kenyan Oct. 2, Mr. Kanwit said, her marriages to George Asante, a Ghanaian, and Hai Tao Mo, a Chinese, were still legally in effect.

Ms. Lewis signed a plea agreement admitting “that she entered into three sham marriages for money and to obtain immigration benefits for the three husbands.” The government did not say how much money she made in the deals.

Nor did it mention who arranged the marriages. {snip}

Mr. Kanwit told Judge Hillman that there was no courtship before the marriage and no intention before or after the weddings of living together as husband and wife. {snip}

{snip}

The maximum penalty for each charge against Ms. Lewis is 10 years in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

{snip}

Worcester City Clerk David J. Rushford told the Sunday Telegram two years ago that there had been a scheme in which hundreds of sham marriages took place in Worcester in the previous four years.

He said that a person arranged to connect African immigrants with Americans for $5,000 to $6,000 and attended the civil ceremony as part of a “group effort.”

{snip}

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