Couple gets probation for arranging sham marriage

Prosecutors say they offered a U.S. citizen $25,000 to marry a relative from Ethiopia.

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BOSTON (AP) — An Ethiopian husband and wife living as legal permanent residents of the U.S. have received two years’ probation for arranging a sham marriage so a relative could live legally in the country and for tax fraud.

Federal prosecutors say 61-year-old Girma Tilahun and 54-year-old Wudnesh Wolde, of Cambridge, were also ordered Tuesday to pay more than $230,000 in unpaid taxes, and to reimburse the federal government $62,000 in illegally obtained housing subsidies.

Prosecutors say they offered a U.S. citizen $25,000 to marry a relative from Ethiopia. That relative came to the U.S. in 2012 but never lived with his “wife.”

Tilahun worked as a dispatcher for a cab company and was often paid in off-the-books cash, income he didn’t report to the IRS. He also lied about his income to receive subsidized housing.

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Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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