A Bahamian woman who took part in a sham marriage aimed at giving her fake husband the right to live here, cried uncontrollably as she was fined $6,000 or one year in prison yesterday.
Janelle Brown, 26, of Mason’s Addition, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of fraud related to the sham marriage on March 5, but her sentencing was delayed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Her lawyer, Anthony Newbold, had requested a probation report to give the court insight into why Brown committed the crimes.
The report revealed that the mother of four children, ranging from two to nine, was a gambling addict.
Newbold said, “This is not an excuse for what she has done, other than for you to understand. Her gambling addiction sheds some light on why she did what she did. Many, unfortunately, are having a serious problem with this.”
However, he asked the court to reunite Brown with her children.
The fraudulent marriage was uncovered when Jessica Newbold tried to register the birth of her child in 2019.
The staff at the Registrar General’s Department refused to register the birth because Newbold was “already married”, the court heard.
Newbold insisted that she was single and had never been married. After leaving the Registrar General’s Department, Newbold made a complaint with police.
As a result of their investigations, Brown was arrested. She admitted to marrying Lugens Saint-Aude while posing as Newbold in 2015 for $1,500.
Magistrate Samuel McKinney said the crime had national security implications, as Brown’s actions gave a total stranger the right to be here.
Brown’s fake husband is in prison awaiting trial. Brown has to pay at least half of her fine prior to release. She can pay the balance in monthly instalments of $350, beginning September.