Witnesses Allegedly Steal from Jury
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) _ Two prosecution witnesses at a federal immigration trial stole $80 and a driver’s license from two jurors in the case, authorities said Thursday.
The theft prompted the government to voluntarily agree to the dismissal of one charge against the defendant, Charles Darlington III of Scarsdale, who allegedly arranged sham marriages between U.S. citizens and Haitian immigrants to win citizenship for the Haitians.
According to a complaint filed in federal court Wednesday, witnesses Barbara White, 22, and Sherry Butler, 24, both of Mount Vernon, were in the courthouse witness room Monday after Ms. Butler’s testified in the trial.
Both had allegedly agreed to wed Haitians in sham marriages for $500 to $1,000 and had agreed to testify.
While Ms. Butler stood as lookout, Ms. White entered the unlocked, empty jury room and ″rifled several pocketbooks and removed cash and a driver’s license,″ according to the complaint.
Two unidentified jurors reported the missing items to U.S. District Court Judge Charles Brieant, who notified attorneys in the case Tuesday.
An investigation by agents of the Immigration and Naturalization Service led to Sabrina Collins of Mount Vernon, another alleged participant in the marriage scam, who said Ms. Butler had admitted the theft to her.
Both women appeared before U.S. Magistrate Joel Tyler on Wednesday and were released on $5,000 bond. If convicted, they face up to a year in jail and a $25,000 fine.