BANGOR, Maine — Two Massachusetts men were arrested Tuesday in the Bay State and accused of arranging sham marriages in Maine so illegal aliens could stay in the country.
Rashid Kakande, 37, of Woburn, Mass., and James Mbugua, 49, of Springfield, Mass., were indicted on July 13 by a federal grand jury in Bangor on charges of conspiring to defraud the United States.
Federal indictments are sealed until after a defendant has been arrested.
Their arraignment dates have not been set.
The men are lawful permanent residents, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Bangor.
For a fee, the duo allegedly found spouses for people who wanted to remain in the U.S. and possibly pursue citizenship. The indictment does not name any of the people who sought spouses or the people Kakande and Mbugua allegedly arranged for illegals to marry.
Kakande is accused of arranging between Dec. 5, 2003, and June 19, 2007, nine marriages that took place in Maine, mostly in Lewiston or Auburn. Mbugua, who also used the first name David, was accused of arranging four marriages in Newport between Feb. 22, 2005, and Oct. 26, 2006.
Both men allegedly were involved in arranging two of the Newport weddings.
The scheme apparently came to the attention of the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in April 2006 when someone for whom Mbugua allegedly arranged a marriage admitted the union was a sham.
Of the marriages the two allegedly arranged, seven of the illegal aliens involved were granted conditional residency status after immigration officials interviewed the couple, according to the indictment. In four of the unions, officials determined the marriages were shams. The legitimacy of two others has not been determined.