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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Russian Woman Sentenced for Marriage Fraud

ALBANY, NEW YORK - Yana Potapova, age 29, and a Russian citizen residing in Schenectady, New York, was sentenced today to 2 years of probation for conspiring to commit marriage fraud. 

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

Senior United States District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy also ordered Potapova to complete 50 hours of community service.

A federal jury found Potapova guilty after a 5-day trial in March 2018.  The evidence 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.

After her arrest in this case, Potapova served 60 days in Albany County jail in relation to an immigration enforcement matter that remains pending.

Thompson pled guilty to conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, and is scheduled to be sentenced on October 3, 2018.

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

Updated September 18, 2018