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Press Release

Jury Convicts Russian Woman of Marriage Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York

ALBANY, NEW YORK - A jury today voted to convict Yana Potapova, age 29, and a Russian citizen residing in Schenectady, New York, of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud following a 5-day trial.

The announcement was made by the United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Kevin M. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Potapova faces up to 5 years in prison when she is sentenced on July 10, 2018 by Senior United States District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.

The evidence at trial demonstrated that in April 2014, Potapova and U.S. citizen Brett Thompson agreed to marry in order to obtain lawful immigration status for Potapova.  Potapova was illegally present in the United States, having overstayed on a visitor visa.  In return for agreeing to marry – and stay married to – Potapova, Thompson received approximately $3,500 over the course of the marriage.  In May 2015, in connection with her application to obtain permanent residency, Potapova falsely represented to United States Citizenship and Immigrations Services that she and Thompson lived together at an address in Albany.

Thompson previously pled guilty to conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, and is awaiting sentencing.

This case was investigated by HSI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Emmet O’Hanlon.

Updated March 7, 2018