BANGOR, Maine — A Newport woman was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court to three months in federal prison for her part in a marriage scam that enlisted Maine residents to wed immigrants.
June Roy White, 56, will spend the same amount of time behind bars that her husband, Albert White, 48, of Newport, is serving. He is scheduled to be released on Aug. 9, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons’ inmate locater website at http://www.bop.gov/inmate_locator/index.jsp. She is scheduled to report on June 17.
“I think this crime is a shameful way to repay the United States for what it has done for you,” U.S. District Judge John Woodcock told White shortly before imposing the sentence. “What you did, in effect, sold out the United States. It was both legally wrong and morally wrong.”
Two of White’s daughters also have been sentenced to prison time for their roles in the conspiracy.
In addition to prison time, Woodcock sentenced June White to three years of supervised release and ordered her to pay a fine of $400 — the amount she earned for her part in the scheme.
The defendant apologized for her actions. Her voice breaking, June White expressed regret for the pain she has caused her family.
“I’m very proud to be an American,” she told the judge Monday. “I pray every day for my government and my country. My hope is that some day everyone will be as lucky as I am.”
June White waived indictment and pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy to commit marriage fraud.
Although she never married an immigrant so the individual could gain citizenship more easily, she recruited others — including the man who is now her husband — to marry immigrants.
The family was part of a conspiracy federal prosecutors claimed was run by two African men. Rashid Kakande, 37, of Woburn, Mass., was convicted by a jury. Originally from Uganda, Kakande is being held without bail while awaiting sentencing.
A second man, James Mbugua, was indicted in July 2010 by a federal grand jury with Kakande. Mbugua, 50, of Springfield, Mass., and a native of Kenya, disappeared last year and is considered a fugitive by the court.
June White faced up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Under the prevailing federal sentencing guidelines, she faced between four and six months in prison.
Woodcock sentenced her to three months after granting a motion made by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gail Malone that June White’s sentence be reduced because of her cooperation.
Defense attorney Joseph Pickering of Bangor urged Woodcock to sentence his client to probation or home detention.
The judge said he sentenced her to prison time because she recruited others into the scheme and to send a message to the community that marriage fraud would be punished.