Jamaican Woman Sentenced
For Sham Marriage to U.S. Soldier
WICHITA, KAN. – A Jamaican woman who was convicted of marriage fraud has been sentenced in federal court and now faces deportation proceedings, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Monti L. Belot sentenced Shannakay M. Priest, 28, to two years of probation. She also was ordered to pay $300 to the federal crime victims fund and $2,600 in restitution to the United States Army for receipt of medical services to which she was not entitled.
In August, a federal jury convicted Priest on one count of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, one count of marriage fraud and one count of making a false statement to an agent of Homeland Security Investigations. During trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Priest had overstayed her visitor visa when she entered into a sham marriage with co-defendant Joshua Priest, who was a private in the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Riley, Kan. The two made the agreement so he could obtain additional benefits to married soldiers, and she could get a green card, regain legal status in the United States and receive military benefits and health care for herself and her two children. The marriage was never consummated and the two never lived together.
Joshua Priest pleaded guilty in the case to marriage and wire fraud. He was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison followed by two years supervised release.
Grissom said Homeland Security Investigations had initiated civil immigration proceedings that are likely to lead to the removal of Shannakay Priest, who resides in Bronx, New York, to her native Jamaica. Shannakay Priest made multiple trips from New York to Fort Riley and Junction City, Kan., to make the marriage appear legitimate, Grissom said.
Grissom commended Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Army and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson for their work on the case.