Bogus marriage plan jails teacher
An ex-instructor took part in a scam to let a Chinese skirt the law
A former schoolteacher was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison yesterday for his role in a marriage fraud scheme that would have allowed a Chinese citizen identified as his lover to skirt immigration laws and eventually seek citizenship.
Bob Loren faced between eight and 14 months' incarceration under federal guidelines.
U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright, in imposing 10 months, said Loren had perjured himself twice for the purpose of receiving favorable rulings by the court.
Defense attorney Stuart Fujioka argued for a lower sentence, saying Loren, 66, had never been in trouble before and did not benefit monetarily from his participation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Hino argued for the maximum term, saying Loren's conduct made a mockery of immigration laws and efforts by those who labor for years to attain citizenship.
"It's like the student that never comes to class, doesn't do the homework, cheats on the exam and gets the degree," Hino said.
Loren was indicted along with a Chinese male, Hang Duan, 21, for conspiring to commit marriage fraud so Duan could remain in the United States and go to school. Also charged were Julia Bivit-Padello, 44, and daughter Shara Padello, 22.
According to the indictment and various court filings, Loren and Duan met and became romantically involved while Loren was teaching in China. Loren, accompanied by Duan, returned to Hawaii in June 2005, and they shared a rental home in Waianae.
Duan, who was here on a business visa, purportedly met and fell in love with Shara Padello of Waianae. After a monthlong romance, and believing she was pregnant, the two were married Aug. 22, 2005, according to preparatory notes of their impending immigration interview.
Their story unraveled, however, when Duan returned to China two days after his wedding and then returned here Sept. 21, 2005. He was flagged by Immigration officials for secondary inspection, and copies of documents in his possession revealed how the couple, her mother and Loren conspired to enable Duan to remain here and the lengths they took to pull it off.
Prosecutors said Duan was introduced to Padello via Loren and that Loren had suggested to Duan he find a marriage contract online. Loren went to the Waianae barbershop where Padello's mother, Bivit-Padello, worked and asked her if she knew anyone willing to marry Duan. Padello subsequently agreed to the arrangement.
"Her intent was to help him out," said Dan Pagliarini, Padello's attorney. "The story Bob (Loren) painted for Shara's mom was for Duan to stay in the country and help."
Padello cooperated fully with authorities from the beginning, he said. Without her assistance, he said, "I don't believe the government would have been able to build a case against Duan and Bob."
Prosecutors said Loren helped Duan draft and approved the marriage contract in which Duan agreed to pay Padello $1,000 to marry him and enable him to obtain a "green card." Padello would receive another $5,000 once Duan obtained permanent residency.
Duan, whom Seabright said was manipulative and just as culpable as Loren, served six months in prison. Padello was sentenced to three years' probation and ordered to perform 300 hours of community service. Bivit-Padello got one month in prison, two years of supervised release and a $1,000 fine.
Gary Singh, Bivit-Padello's attorney, said his client did not receive a penny for her role, which Singh said she undertook in good faith.