Ex-teacher guilty of marriage fraud
A former Radford High School teacher has admitted to arranging a sham marriage between a Chinese national and a Waianae woman to enable him to remain in Hawaii and go to school.
Bob Loren pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to commit marriage fraud.
Under a plea agreement, Loren admitted to telling Hang Duan, also known as Dustin Duan, that he could find a marriage contract online, and later reviewed the contract after Duan had prepared it, said attorney Stuart Fujioka, appointed recently to represent Loren.
Loren, who had taught English in China, met Duan there, and they decided to team up for a business venture, Fujioka said.
"There came a point where Bob actually wanted to distance himself from Dustin, so the marriage was a convenient way," Fujioka said.
Loren had approached Julia Bivit-Padello at her hairstyling salon in Waianae and asked her if she knew anyone willing to marry Duan so he could get permanent residency here, according to court documents.
Bivit-Padello suggested her daughter, Shara Padello, 21. Under the marriage contract, Duan agreed to pay Padello $1,000 to marry and another $5,000 once Duan obtained permanent residency. The couple married in August 2005.
Bivit-Padello and Padello pleaded guilty earlier to conspiracy and await sentencing on April 16. Duan served a six-month sentence.
Under a plea agreement, federal prosecutors agreed not to charge Loren with any more crimes related to marriage fraud or immigration-related offenses.
The plea agreement does not cover two other cases that Loren is being investigated for, said assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Hino.
Loren is under investigation by the State Department for allegedly traveling to Hawaii using a passport that he obtained through fraudulent means. And the Chinese police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are investigating allegations that Loren allowed a 16-year-old Chinese national to live with him in a dormitory at the school where he was teaching. The teen told authorities he had sexual contact with Loren.
The federal government has jurisdiction over both cases because Loren entered the United States from China through Hawaii, Hino said.
Loren will be seeking a prison term on the lower end of the guideline range of four to 10 months when sentenced in August. A U.S. magistrate denied Loren's request to be released while awaiting sentencing.
Hino had argued that Loren was a fugitive and had failed to follow previous court orders instructing him to complete a sexual deviancy test and surrender his passport.
Loren lost his teaching job at Radford when he was indicted on the charges in May. He was previously out on $50,000 bail but violated conditions of his release by going to Mexico. He was arrested earlier this month when he returned to Honolulu just days before he was to go to trial.