Columbus, Ohio (AP) -- U.S. authorities in Ohio say 11 people have been charged in an alleged scheme to arrange sham marriages to help people from eastern Europe gain legal residency.
Federal prosecutors say immigrants paid $17,000 to marry U.S. citizens, who were allegedly promised money in return.
An indictment returned Dec. 1 in Columbus and unsealed Tuesday names nine defendants who live in central Ohio.
Officials say two others were arrested in New Orleans and Philadelphia.
Prosecutors say most of the marriages took place at a business called the Columbus Wedding Services Chapel.
Marge Butler, who operates the chapel with her husband, says they aren't required to seek identification or ask questions and didn't know of the alleged fraud.
(Copyright 2009 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
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