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Mexican actress faces real-life drama over alleged marriage scam

April 17, 2010 |  8:25 am

Fernanda Romero

Maria Fernanda Romero Martinez has appeared in numerous Spanish-language movies and soap operas.

But now, federal authorities claim she was at the center of a real-life drama that has landed her and a Los Angeles man in court.

Romero and Kent Ross, both 28, were arrested Friday morning at their respective Los Angeles homes, according to a federal affidavit. They were charged with marriage fraud for allegedly trying to gain legal residency and a work permit for her by marrying each other.

Ross and Romero were married in 2005, but federal authorities claim the couple never lived together as a couple. A month after the marriage, Romero began dating, then living with fashion photographer Markus Klinko.

Romero also applied for a green card based on the marriage to Ross. The application included documents allegedly containing false statements about how long she had lived in the United States and with Ross.

When Klinko’s and Romero’s relationship ended, Klinko went to federal immigration authorities with evidence that Romero was in a sham marriage, according to the document.

Romero, who goes by the stage name Fernanda Romero, acted in the 2008 supernatural thriller “The Eye” and “Carts,” a black comedy about clerks at a big-box store, according to her website. She was also host of the Univision Spanish-language reality show “Control.”

“This actor should have realized that posing as a bride for immigration purposes could land her a role in a real-life crime drama,” Miguel Unzueta, special agent in charge for the ICE Office of Investigations in Los Angeles, told KTLA News. “Immigration benefit fraud is a serious crime. Not only does it potentially rob deserving immigrants of benefits they rightfully deserve, it also undermines the integrity of our nation's legal immigration system.”

-- Sam Quinones

Photo: Maria Fernanda Romero Martinez. Credit: Getty Images