PORTLAND, Maine: A man previously from Togliatti, Russia, now of Portland, was sentenced in federal court today for conspiracy to commit visa fraud, false statements to a federal law enforcement agency, and visa fraud, U.S. Attorney Darcie N. McElwee announced.
U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen sentenced Alexander Gormatov, 34, to time served (333 days), a $2,000 fine, and one year of supervised release. Gormatov was found guilty following a jury trial in October 2021.
According to court records, Gormatov, a Russian national, entered the U.S. on a student/work visa in 2009, and later successfully adjusted his status to that of an academic student visa by attending Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) in 2010.
In 2011, Gormatov met a 17-year-old female U.S. citizen through a Craigslist employment advertisement. A few months later when she reached age 18, Gormatov paid her to marry him in pursuit of a permanent immigration benefit. Gormatov then quit school. By November 2012, when he failed to re-enroll at SMCC, Gormatov became unlawfully present in the U.S.
In January 2013, per their agreement, the sham couple made a series of material false statements on immigration documents that Gormatov later filed seeking a formal adjustment to his immigration status. In April 2013, the couple was interviewed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service in South Portland during which, per Gormatov’s instruction, the couple falsely claimed to be living as husband and wife. Following the interviews, based on the fraud, Gormatov obtained conditional lawful permanent resident (LPR) status in the U.S.
In January 2014, Gormatov’s bride gave birth to a child she conceived with her actual live-in boyfriend, but Gormatov’s name was placed on the birth certificate. In March 2015, Gormatov filed a petition to remove the conditions of his permanent residence, accompanied by a copy of the child’s falsified birth certificate.
In January 2017, after learning he was under investigation, Gormatov departed the U.S. for Russia and failed to return within one year. In May 2019, in order to return to the U.S., Gormatov falsely represented the paternity of his sham wife’s child on a form filed in Riga, Latvia.
During the trial, the young sham wife testified that Gormatov had told her to “just trust him” because such sham marriages happen all the time and “nobody cares.”
The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations, and the Department of State – Diplomatic Security Service investigated this case.
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