BANGOR, Maine — A Newport man was sentenced to two months in prison for being part of a scam that enlisted Maine residents to marry illegal immigrants so they could become American citizens more easily.
Jason Neas, 26, also was sentenced to a year of supervised release after he completes his prison term.
In addition to prison time, U.S. District Judge John Woodcock ordered Neas to pay a $2,000 fine and to begin serving his sentence Friday.
He was a small cog in what became the state’s first sham marriage conspiracy, which included more than two dozen Mainers. Neas waived indictment and pleaded guilty last August to conspiracy to defraud the United States. He has been free on bail since then.
Neas married a Kenyan national on Oct. 16, 2006, according to the prosecution version of events to which he pleaded guilty. Neas was paid $800 after the wedding ceremony on a lakeshore in Newport.
After the wedding, Neas and his wife never lived together, according to court documents. Twice in 2007, Neas traveled to Massachusetts.
Once, he met with the Kenyan woman’s attorney and signed immigration forms and the second time he was interviewed by staff with the U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Service, according to the prosecution’s version of events. As a result, the woman was granted conditional residency in the U.S. and Neas was paid an additional $800.
Neas was recruited to marry the Kenyan woman by the Kenyan man who had married Neas’ current live-in girlfriend, Kelly Rider, in 2005, when she was just 18. Rider was lured into the scam by the Roy family, who have been described in court documents as her neighbors.
Rider, now 25 and the mother of two children ages 6 and 14 months with Neas, was sentenced a year ago to one year of probation and ordered to pay a $300 fine.
The Roy family was part of a conspiracy federal prosecutors claimed was run by two African men. Rashid Kakande, 38, of Woburn, Mass., was sentenced last year to two years in federal prison after being convicted by a jury of arranging at least 18 marriages in Maine. Originally from Uganda, Kakande and James Mbugua were indicted in July 2010 by a federal grand jury. Mbugua, 51, of Springfield, Mass., and a native of Kenya, disappeared later that year and is considered a fugitive by the court.
June Roy White, 57, who recruited Rider, was sentenced to three months in federal prison, the same amount of time that her husband, Albert White, 49, of Newport, was sentenced.
Two of White’s daughters also were sentenced to prison time for their roles in the conspiracy.
Torri Roy Patterson, 33, of Lewiston is scheduled to begin serving a six-month sentence last year. Angela Roy, 37, of Sabattus was sentenced to 10 months.
Members of the Roy family and Rider testified against Kakande.
Neas and Rider faced up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.