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January 6, 2010

Off to war, rather than prison, for military marriage scammer

A helpful reader sent me this notable local sentencing story, which is headlined "After marriage fraud, soldier will serve in Afghanistan, not in prison."  Here are the basics:

A former Fort Bragg soldier who married a Russian woman in order to get her into the United States and claim higher benefits for himself was sentenced to probation Monday for the fraud.

Robert L. Cooper, lawyer for Stephen Schneider, argued that his client has been recalled to military service in Afghanistan and could only do so if he was not serving time.  The judge agreed and sentenced Schneider to five years probation.

Schneider pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy to commit marriage fraud.  Authorities said Schneider and another man, Sgt. Wesly Farris, 23, each married Russian women in order to get higher pay and move off post.  After a civil ceremony, the women returned to New York, while the soldiers filed immigration papers for the women and personal requests for increased living allowances from the Army, authorities said.

January 6, 2010 at 11:31 AM | Permalink


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The article states that this fraud cost the Army over $200,000 in benefits.

My first reaction is why hasn't the Army discharged these crooks dishonorably. Do we need soldiers that bad that crimes of moral turpitude are now overlooked. This was a monetary fraud against the Army and immigration fraud as well.

Secondly, the district court compounds the error by granting probation.

Posted by: mjs | Jan 6, 2010 3:06:17 PM

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