4 accused of marriage fraud
The alleged scam sought U.S. residency status for a man's lover from China
Bob Loren, a 64-year-old Hawaii teacher, and his 20-year-old male lover, Hang Duan of China, face arraignment Monday on charges of conspiring to commit marriage fraud so Duan could stay in the United States as a permanent resident.
The pair are accused of setting up a sham marriage between Duan and a local woman, Shara Padello, 21, to allow him to obtain permanent resident status in the United States.
Duan and Padello were also indicted Wednesday on charges of marriage and visa fraud. Padello and her mother, Julia Bivit-Padello, 43, of Waianae also face charges of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud.
According to the indictment, Loren met and became romantically involved with Duan while Loren was teaching English in China. Duan accompanied Loren back to the United States using a business visa last June.
Loren, an Oahu high school teacher, then allegedly approached Bivit-Padello at her hairstyling salon in Waianae and asked if she knew anyone willing to marry Duan so he could get permanent U.S. residence and go to school here. Bivit-Padello suggested her daughter, the indictment said.
Under a contract that Loren helped draft, Duan agreed to pay Padello $1,000 to marry and another $5,000 once Duan obtained permanent resident status, the indictment alleged. The two were married on Aug. 22 at Crosspointe Townhomes.
Bivit-Padello took the couple shopping for a wedding ring and clothes for the ceremony to make the marriage look legitimate, and a reception was held at a Chinese restaurant, according to an affidavit by Bruce Law, special agent with the Department of Homeland Security.
Duan and Padello later admitted to federal authorities that they never consummated the marriage or lived together, but said they had rehearsed a script so they could answer questions from an immigration examiner about their marital life, according to the affidavit.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Hino said yesterday he could not comment specifically about the case.
"A few people have mentioned to me that 'isn't marriage fraud a victimless crime?'" Hino said. "What's troubling about these types of cases is that we have no way of ever knowing for sure whether or not the alien is being victimized."
Duan and Loren lived together at 4339 Likini St. in Salt Lake, and agents who watched the home for 48 hours last November saw both of them come and go but no sign of Padello, Duan's purported wife.
Padello later told authorities that she lived in Kaneohe with her boyfriend and sometimes with her mother in Waianae.
Loren also goes by the name Robert Loren, and Duan is also known as Dustin Duan.
Penalties for conspiracy and marriage fraud are a maximum of five years' imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. Visa fraud carries a possible term of up to 10 years' imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.