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Sham marriage

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Over 21 years ago when I was 18 I took a bus trip alone to L.A. from my home in West Virginia. (I was a very naïve young woman from a very dysfunctional family) While in L.A. at a Greyhound Bus Station I was approached by an attractive young foreign man named Ahmad who spoke little English. He was friendly and very charming and convinced me to go with him to the beach where we drank wine and talked for hours. We were basically hanging out together and seeing the sights of L.A. for the next 2 days.
On the eve of the 2nd day I had met him he asked me if I wanted to go to Las Vegas and I said yes. We took a Greyhound bus to Vegas. While there we drank A LOT. He told me that he was from Germany..? (He did not look or sound German so I assumed he meant he lived there and was not a native of Germany) Later, I found out it was a lie. We had been in Vegas only 1 day and he told me that he was in the U.S. on a student Visa and that it had expired or was about to expire (long time ago, don’t remember details) He said he wanted to stay in the U.S. and he thought that if we had a quickie marriage in Vegas and he got a marriage certificate this would enable him to stay in the country. Keep in mind this was only 3 days after we had met. The free alcohol everywhere in Vegas did a lot to cloud my judgment and I remember thinking that this was all too surreal and I was not taking it seriously. I barely remember us taking the bus to a place for him to buy a marriage application. I remember him putting his address as San Juan Capistrano and him telling me to put that as my address also to make it look like we had known each other longer. (I had never been to San Juan Capistrano). When we were issued a marriage application I was dumbfounded because I never dreamt they would actually issue us one. He paid the fee for the application and was very happy (he thought this was his easy ticket to U.S. citizenship. I on the other hand was becoming scared and apprehensive about what I was getting myself into. He said that since we had gotten the application that I was now obligated to marry him so that he could obtain a marriage license and stay in the country (I truly believe that he thought that was all he needed to do and that there were no laws against this) I did not know at the time that such marriages were considered a sham and were fraudulent.
I was so naïve that I thought that if I went through with it he would get his certificate and be able to stay in the country. I actually thought that we would go our separate ways and somehow have the marriage annulled later on. I was not aware of all the immigration laws and regulations at the time. Keep in mind that we were both still drinking heavily. I barely remember the “wedding” ceremony at a Las Vegas chapel other than it was very short. We went to a Las Vegas show that evening and although we had a hotel room nothing sexual happened.
I was anxious to return to my home in W.V. and I assumed he would be returning to L.A. with his “marriage certificate.” The next day we went to the Greyhound bus station. While there he told me that he changed his mind and that I had to come with him and not return to my home. I told him I never agreed to this and he acted like he was my boss and I had to do what he said (his personality changed dramatically)
As we were waiting in the Bus Station a man suddenly approaches Ahmad and handcuffs him. It looked like he was being arrested. It must have been a plain clothes police officer because I do not remember a uniform. I can’t remember if Ahmad said anything about “marriage” but he was waving around the marriage certificate. The police did not say anything to me or ask me anything. This all frightened me and made me ever more anxious to come back home and I took the very next bus back.
After I had returned to W.V. I vaguely remember calling the Las Vegas Police and after I inquired about what happened to Ahmad I was told that he had been deported BACK to IRAN. He was lying to me about being from Germany. (This all happened around the time of the Iran Hostage Crisis) When I was told that he had been deported I assumed that meant that the marriage was not valid or legal and since it was a sham marriage, no annulment was necessary. I just wanted to forget any of it ever happened and since he had been deported there was nothing more I could do. This was over 21 years ago and was a vague memory until just recently when I found out that an in-law is trying to use this unfortunate event from my past to steal my house from me.
Shortly after returning to W.V. I met a much older man and we had a daughter who was born in February of 1984. We were married in W.V. in February of 1985. We were married and lived together for nearly 10 years. He passed away in January of 1995. He did not leave a will because the things we had such as a car, bank account, were titled jointly and the house we paid cash for in 1993 has both our names on the deed “with right of survivorship”. So there was no reason for a will. My deceased husband had a daughter from a previous marriage who always hated and was jealous of me. She recently somehow found out about what had happened to me in Las Vegas in 1981 and is now suing me in to try and take my house away by saying I was never married to her father because I was already married to Ahmad!
Please tell me that I was correct in assuming that the sham marriage I was coerced into when I was 18 was not legal. I never would have married my husband in 1985 if I thought I was legally married to someone else! I am very sick about this and do not want my house taken from me by this evil woman. It was my husbands and my intention to give this house to our beautiful daughter who is now 18 years old.
I have been summoned to appear in the court of common pleas concerning this nightmare and I cannot afford a lawyer! Does this woman have a case and could she actually take our house?!
We live in Ohio and my daughter and I have lived in this house for 9 years and have paid all property taxes on it for those years. If anyone has any advice or info that could help me about this mess I would be forever grateful.





I saw your post in another forum as well, and wanted to let you know that it's very sad what happened to you. As one of the replies you got, I believe, too, that legally, you're probably still married to Ahmad and that you're technically (were) committing polygamy.

First thing you should do, therefore, would be in my non-proffessional opinion to annul the 1st. marriage immediatly at the location where you were married so many years ago. You were drunk, your age then, that the marriage was never "consumated" etc., you should have a good case! You can try to contact the office, Las Vegas city & county etc. via the internet/e-mail since you say that you're financially burdened at this time.

Second thing is that you need to fend off the other law suit that is going on, a good lawyer will know the exact steps, you on the other hand need to invest a good amount of research time to figure out which motions to file, so that you can halt the progressing of that law-suit in favor of your deceased husband's daughter! Even if you loose at this step, you need to appeal that decision, but in general and from my own experience I would definitly recommend an attorney for this task.

Again, I wish you good luck, I believe that you have a chance, but must act quickly (you should have "divorced" or annulled the first marriage long time ago!).

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