A Mexican actress who goes by the name Fernanda Romero was arrested Friday for allegedly entering into a "sham marriage" with an American man for the purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship, federal officials said. The beau, identified as Kent Ross, was also arrested as a suspect in the case. A boyfriend Romero dated after marrying Ross turned her in, authorities said.
The actress, whose real name is Maria Fernanda Romero Martinez, was arrested at her home in Westwood, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles. Ross was arrested at his residence at Park La Brea. Both are 28.
In a criminal complaint filed Thursday federal authorities allege that Romero paid Ross to marry her on June 12, 2005. But the pair never lived together, authorities contend. In fact, they say that Romero started dating a fashion photographer and even moved in with him.
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That man, Markus Klinko, turned Romero in after they broke up.
Authorities say that Romero filed "false statements" about her marriage in order to obtain a green card.
"This actor should have realized that posing as a bride for immigration purposes could land her a role in a real-life crime drama," said Miguel Unzueta, special agent in charge for the ICE Office of Investigations in Los Angeles. "Immigration benefit fraud is a serious crime. Not only does it potentially rob deserving immigrants of benefits they rightfully deserve, it also undermines the integrity of our nation's legal immigration system."
Romero and Ross could each face five years behind bars.