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RALEIGH, N.C. (Tribune News Service) — A former Fort Bragg soldier was sentenced to more than three years in federal prison for arranging marriages between foreign nationals and U.S. soldiers in order to skirt immigration law and gain married soldier benefits for the service-members.

In August, Ghana-born, Ebenezer "Ben" Yeboah Asane, 37, pleaded guilty in federal court in New Bern to marriage fraud and conspiracy commit marriage fraud. On Thursday, he was sentenced to 44 months in prison and three years probation.

While stationed at Fort Bragg, Asane planned and organized sham marriages of several foreign nationals from Ghana to U.S. Army soldiers based at Fort Bragg, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

The purpose of the conspiracy was for the foreign-born nationals to evade U.S. immigration laws and obtain lawful permanent residence status and for the soldiers to receive payments from the military for food and housing, allowances provided to married service members.

The marriages happened in Cumberland County, including one involving his brother who was convicted of visa fraud at trial in Norfolk, Virginia, last month, according to a news release.

Asane recruited additional soldiers into the fraudulent scheme to orchestrate photographs to give the appearance the marriages were legitimate and to submit false statements to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service in support of the sham marriages, the release said. Once charged, he also attempted to obstruct justice by asking a witness to lie under oath.

He was arrested on Oct. 23, 2019, in Alabama. Eleven others were also charged in the scheme.

(c)2021 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.)

Visit The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.) at www.fayobserver.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

A sergeant and a private at Fort Bragg sought to arrange sham marriages between soldiers and immigrants according to federal court documents. (Logan Mock-Bunting/Getty Images)
A sergeant and a private at Fort Bragg sought to arrange sham marriages between soldiers and immigrants according to federal court documents. (Logan Mock-Bunting/Getty Images) (Logan Mock-Bunting)

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