Two Reston men were indicted yesterday on charges that they married two American citizens to avoid deportation to their native Pakistan. The two women were undercover agents.
Prosecutors said Abdul Khan and Mohammad Andaz Butt both said "I do" in Arlington Circuit Court recently but made no happily-ever-after plans with their new spouses, an Immigration and Naturalization Service agent and a Fairfax County police officer.
Instead, the two paid the women $1,000 for signing the marriage license, never consummated the marriages and lived apart from the women, according to the indictment.
By marrying American citizens, the men hoped to gain status as permanent resident aliens enabling them to work in the United States, the indictment said.
Two other Pakistani men, Sultan Inayatullah and Manzoor A. Choudhry, also were named in the indictment handed up in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.
The four were charged with one count each of conspiracy to violate immigration laws by writing false statements on marriage certificates.
Prosecutors described Khan and Butt as the "marriage men," and said the other two men assisted them.
A third party, not named in the indictment, acted as a go-between to introduce the men and women.
The indictment said Khan's and Butt's marriages were performed by another federal agent, Harry Van Luevan, who posed as an assistant to Gerald E. Williams, a court-appointed lawyer authorized to perform marriage ceremonies in Arlington County.
Immediately after Butt's wedding, on July 29, he walked out on the courthouse steps, turned to Fairfax County Police Officer Terry McDonough and paid her $1,000, the indictment said.
The four men, who could not be reached for comment, are scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 12. Each faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
In July, INS Commissioner Alan C. Nelson estimated that 30 percent of the more than 100,000 cases in which an alien applies for a marriage license with an American citizen are fraudulent.
Sham marriages have been notoriously difficult to prosecute, federal investigators have said, because even if a spouse divulges to authorities that he or she married solely to allow the partner to remain in the country, that intention is difficult to prove.