A native of Nepal in pursuit of a green card is facing federal charges after he allegedly married a Hampden woman last summer in Maine and promised to pay her $13,000.
Eilove Shrestha, 27, of Cupertino, California, was charged in November in U.S. District Court in Bangor with one count each of marriage fraud and conspiracy to commit marriage fraud. The case was sealed until Shrestha was arrested last week in California.
Shrestha, who came to the U.S. in 2015 on a six-month visitors’ visa, appeared Jan. 11 in federal court in San Jose and was released on $50,000 unsecured bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 28 in Bangor.
The case came to the attention of Homeland Security Investigations on Aug. 6 after Morena Mushero, 28, of Hampden, who is facing state charges, told local police that she was in a sham marriage.
The woman told Homeland Security investigators that she advertised June 1, 2018, on a marriage website saying that she would be willing to marry someone seeking a green card in exchange for money, according to court documents.
Shrestha allegedly contacted Mushero by email June 13. They negotiated a price of $13,000 to be made in installments, court documents said.
He allegedly flew to Bangor from North Carolina on June 24, and the couple was married in Brewer on June 25. Shrestha allegedly flew back to North Carolina the next day.
Between the time he came to Maine and the end of July, Shrestha paid Mushero more than $3,000, according to court documents.
Mushero waived indictment Dec. 10 in federal court in Bangor and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. She remains jailed on state charges.
Information about those charges was not available Friday.
Shrestha has not yet hired or been appointed an attorney in Maine. Mushero’s attorney, Public Defender James Nixon, declined to comment Friday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Ruge, who is prosecuting the case, also declined to comment Friday. It is the practice of the office not to comment on pending cases.
If convicted of either charge, Shrestha faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He also could be deported to Nepal if convicted.
Mushero faces the same penalties. Her sentencing date has not been set.