Why are marriage fraud charges filed against Arizona pastor?

A new Arizona pastor is facing the possibility of a possible life sentence if convicted of engaging in a sham marriage, which can carry up to a 25-year sentence.

Randy Brown, 64, of Scottsdale was charged in February with a range of felony counts stemming from a marriage fraud scheme involving a Phoenix woman who alleged she was cheated on and forced to marry another man.

He pleaded not guilty in March and is expected to be arraigned Tuesday in Scottsdell Superior Court.

A criminal complaint filed in Scottington shows a Phoenix police detective interviewed Brown about a woman who had filed for a divorce from him.

The woman, who was never married, said she was “forced” to marry the man she said was a childless virgin.

The complaint alleges Brown took advantage of the woman to collect child support from her.

Brown denied all of the allegations, but was convicted of fraudulently obtaining property through a sham divorce and sentenced to serve two years in prison.

The Phoenix Gazette reported in August that Brown had filed two separate civil lawsuits against the woman and a man he married, alleging she cheated on him and forced him to marry her.

Brown, who lives in Scotty, said he’s been working on behalf of the women in both cases.

He said he wants to give back to society, and his goal is to help them rebuild their lives.

He is not involved in the case against the Phoenix woman, said Scottsden police Detective Daniel Rizzo.

Brown was charged with one count of child abduction and one count each of child endangerment, fraudulent use of the Social Security number, false reporting and identity theft.

He was also charged with two counts of unlawful restraint.