James Barding, a 60-year-old practicing attorney, was charged in a sealed superseding indictment last Wednesday. The indictment was made public Tuesday during his first court appearance.
Barding allegedly helped his 38-year-old Ukrainian national girlfriend, Darya Chernova, who entered the U.S. on a student visa and attended Lincoln University before earning a masterâ??s degree from the University of Missouri, try to find a U.S. citizen to marry her so she could stay in the country. Court documents allege that Barding offered Helias High School teacher and tennis coach Tim Dunville $36,000 to marry Chernova.
Also listed as co-defendants on the superseding indictment were 32-year-old Oleksandr Nikolayevich Druzenko, also known as "Alex" or "Sasha," of Jefferson City, and 60-year-old Patricia Ewalt of El Paso, Texas.
Druzenko and Ewalt were friends with Barding and Chernova, who helped Druzenko find a U.S. Citizen (Ewalt) to marry in 2007 so he could stay in the country after graduating. The pair met in March 2007 and were married on June 22, 2007. Druzenko then obtained lawful permanent resident status on Jan. 2, 2008.
The co-defendants were originally charged in an Oct. 3, 2012 federal indictment. The superseding indictment also includes additional charges against some of the defendants.
All four were charged with participating in a conspiracy to defraud the U.S., to commit marriage fraud, and to gain resident status and citizenship through false statements. They were also charged together in one count of marriage fraud, as well as one count of attempting to unlawfully procure citizenship or naturalization. Druzenko and Ewalt were charged together in three counts that are related to making false statements on immigration forms.