Ex-Boyfriend Calls Feds Over Actress’s Marriage Fraud

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A Mexican soap opera actress and her husband have been charged with orchestrating a sham marriage so that she could stay in the country, according to federal authorities.

Fernanda Romero, 28, is a singer, actress and model who began her career at age 16 by touring Mexico and Central America with a pop group. She then moved to Mexican television, hosting programs and acting in commercials. Romero has appeared in print and television ad campaigns for Rock & Republic jeans, Clean and Clear, Apple, Pepsi and JC Penney. According to the Internet Movie Database, she has also appeared in at least 15 television shows and movies since 2005, including a Telemundo original production called “Wounded Soul.”

Prosecutors, acting on a tip given to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, found that Romero paid Kent Ross, a pizza delivery person and musician, an undisclosed amount to marry her. The two had a wedding ceremony on June 12, 2005, but never lived together, according to the federal complaint filed last week.

Instead, Romero began dating fashion photographer Markus Klinko. The two lived together for several months, but after Romero called off the relationship, Klinko placed a phone call to officers with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who subsequently launched an investigation.

Last Friday, Romero appeared before a U.S. magistrate. She was released on a $50,000 signature bond, but not before surrendering her passport and being told not to leave southern California. Additionally, her activities will be monitored electronically.

Ross, 28, also appeared before a U.S. magistrate, and was released on $25,000 bond.

According to the prosecutor in the case, Assistant United States Attorney Jim Left, the Mexican actress could face between 15 and 21 months in prison if she is convicted on the charges, but he also indicated that many similar cases result in lower sentences. Marriage fraud charges are usually litigated by immigration agencies, not prosecuted as criminal cases.

Also named in the complaint is Michael Ball, the founder of the Rock & Republic jeans company, who allegedly helped arrange the marriage to Ross when Romero was modeling for his brand.

Ball was barred by the federal judge from helping Romero post bail.

 

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