ENTERTAINMENT

Fernanda Romero, Mexican Actress Guilty of Marriage Scam, Sentenced to 30 Days in Jail

Fernanda Romero, the Mexican-born actress who admitted lying to immigration officials about her bogus marriage, has been sentenced to 30 days in jail.

The surprising sentence was handed down despite efforts to avoid serving time as a result of plea bargains in the case.

"It's disappointing," said one of Romero's attorneys, Vicky Podberesky, after the hearing. "Ms. Romero is remorseful for what happened."

The couple, who are not divorced and maintain their love for each other, did not have to pay a fine. Their sentences, ordered by U.S. District Judge Manuel Real, begin on weekends in June.

A tearful Romero apologized for her actions during the hearing.

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"This has made me grow and made me a better person," she said.

Romero, who had bit roles in American films, but is perhaps best known for her role in the Mexican soap opera "Eternamente Tuya," confessed to entering into a sham marriage with Kent Ross so that she could remain in the United States

The pair was charged in April 2010 for the fake marriage, but a jury deadlocked on the case last year. The pair eventually entered a plea agreement that calls for probation.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney James Left said his office has charged people with marriage fraud before and cited extensive evidence against Romero and Ross as a reason for bringing charges against them.

Podberesky, though, said officials made an example of her client because she is an actress.

"There are thousands of these cases, and there aren't thousands of these cases in federal court," she said.

Romero is involved in an immigration hearing and could be deported depending on the evidence presented by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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