United States Attorney Beth Drake stated on March 2 that Jason Bolt, 39, of Laurens, pled guilty on Feb. 27 in federal court in Florence, to Conspiracy to Commit Marriage Fraud, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.
United States District Judge R. Bryan Harwell of Florence, accepted the plea and will impose sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
The evidence presented at the guilty plea hearing established that Bolt was involved in a marriage fraud conspiracy involving a number of Brazilian aliens who were paying U.S. citizens to enter into fraudulent marriages with them in order to gain United States citizenship.
Bolt was paid between $9,000 and $10,000 to enter into a fraudulent marriage with one of the Brazilian defendants who was eventually successful in obtaining United States citizenship through this fraud.
Staged photographs of Bolt and this Brazilian defendant were taken, and fraudulent affidavits falsely claiming that Bolt and this Brazilian defendant lived together were submitted, all for the purpose of
corroborating this sham marriage.
Ms. Drake stated the maximum penalty the defendant can receive is a fine of $250,000 and/or imprisonment for five years, plus a special assessment of $100.
The case was investigated by agents of the ICE-Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Brad Parham of the Florence office handled the case.