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      Woman sentenced to federal prison after setting up phony marriages

      Department of Justice seal

      An Edinburg woman was sentenced to two years behind bars for conspiracy to commit marriage fraud.

      Sandy Botello Ramirez received the 24 month sentence in federal prison for being a matchmaker of marriages that did not exist.

      The 77-year-old arranged more than 30 fake marriages between foreign nationals and U.S. citizens for profit.

      The foreign nationals hired Ramirez to help them obtain residency status in the U.S.

      Ramirez committed marriage fraud after arranging marriges between couples that did not intend on establishing their lives together.

      The marriages were arranged for immigration benefits by Ramirez.

      Ramirez would complete the immigration paperwork and would instruct the pair how to present themselves as a married couple.

      Ramirez would then tell the false couple to take pictures together and how to answer questions at their immigration interview.

      U.S. citizens can seek residency for their undocumented relative by filing a petition.

      The petitions then allow U.S. citizens to bring their spouse to the U.S.

      Fraud occurs when a petition is filled, but the couple did not intend to actually have a married life together.