COURT NEWS

Trial begins in case of man charged with arranging sham marriages

Posted March 22, 2011, at 11:10 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — A Massachusetts man is on trial in Maine on charges he arranged sham weddings between people from Maine and Africans seeking to become legal residents of the United States.

Monday was the opening day of the trial in federal court in Portland of 37-year-old Rashid Kakande of Woburn, Mass.

He is charged with arranging payments of up to $5,000 for Mainers willing to marry people from Uganda and other African countries in the United States with expiring tourist or student visas.

He is said to have arranged 15 marriages between 2003 and 2007.

Most of the weddings were held in apartments in Lewiston.

If convicted, Kakande could be sentenced to five years in prison.

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