Marriage

Naples woman charged in bogus marriage gets no prison time – Yahoo News

Summary

Nov. 17—PORTLAND — When she turned 18, Raeanna Johnson had the word “survive” tattooed over heart to remind her to keep fighting when things seemed bleakest.

Her father died from an accidental drug overdose when she was 3. Her mother died from cancer when she was 15, leaving her orphaned.

She was moved from Maine to Florida and into an abusive family, where an aunt abandoned her at an emergency room, according to federal court records that chronicle Johnson’s troubled life.</p…….

npressfetimg-1949.png

Nov. 17—PORTLAND — When she turned 18, Raeanna Johnson had the word “survive” tattooed over heart to remind her to keep fighting when things seemed bleakest.

Her father died from an accidental drug overdose when she was 3. Her mother died from cancer when she was 15, leaving her orphaned.

She was moved from Maine to Florida and into an abusive family, where an aunt abandoned her at an emergency room, according to federal court records that chronicle Johnson’s troubled life.

The state of Florida took her to a behavioral health center, where she languished after no family came to retrieve her.

Eventually, the state put her in a children’s home.

She later returned to Maine to live with her aged grandparents, who were unprepared to care for her.

It was there she began a relationship with a 25-year-old man, who abused her emotionally, physically and financially.

He lived off the death benefits she received after her mother’s death and drank all day.

She had dropped out of school and was trapped in a relationship that had escalated to an extreme point.

She’d been unable to escape.

Even when police were called, she couldn’t get away.

“It was during this time that Raeanna made a choice to help herself,” her attorney, Sarah Branch wrote in court papers.

Johnson had “placed an ad online to try to find a job. A job where she could earn money in secret and hopefully save enough money to get away. That is when she met Defendant Gormatov.”

On Tuesday, a judge sentenced Johnson, now 27, to time-served for her role in the conspiracy of assisting Alexander Gormatov, a Russian citizen, to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

Johnson, who was 17 at the time, had placed an ad on Craigslist to try to find a job.

Gormatov had answered her ad, offering to help her in exchange for a lie that would, years later, find Johnson pleading guilty to two felony crimes under federal law.

Out of desperation, she had made a choice to help Gormatov in an effort to free herself from the life in which she had become trapped, she would later recount as a witness at Gormatov’s trial.

At the time, lying to the government had seemed like a minor matter “in comparison to evils she was experiencing” at the hands of her abuser, Branch wrote in court papers.

The choice hadn’t been difficult. Johnson would later admit to her wrongdoing in federal court and pay the price for it.

As arranged, when she turned 18, she married Gormatov in order to secure him legal U.S. status, in exchange for money.

The two had lied to government officials, saying they …….

Source: https://www.yahoo.com/news/naples-woman-charged-bogus-marriage-050100695.html