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A Shelton man born in Mexico has been sentenced to two years of probation and fined $1,500 for using a "sham marriage" to further his pursuit of permanent legal status in the United States.

Eloy Nevarez Andazola, 40, married a U.S. citizen in 1997 in Gosper County.

In a news release Monday, U.S. Attorney Robert Stuart said the two never lived together, but that Andazola had used the marriage for immigration reasons. A grand jury indicted him last summer.

Andazola later admitted he knowingly made a false statement in 2015 when he applied for status as a lawful, permanent U.S. resident: He answered "no" to the question of whether he had "committed, assisted in committing, or attempted to commit a crime or offense for which he was not arrested," and whether he had "married someone in order to obtain an immigration benefit."

U.S. District Judge John Gerrard sentenced him Friday in Lincoln for false swearing in an immigration matter.

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations.

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Lori Pilger is a public safety reporter.

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