A court clerk in rural Iowa is facing fraud charges after filing false documents certifying she had married two men—even though she never met the couple.
Grundy County Deputy Clerk of Court Brigitte Van Nice, 42, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with both forgery and perjury. She had been ordained to preform marriage rites last year via a website, and filed a certificate at the county recorder’s office claiming she had officiated the wedding on Valentine’s Day.
Van Nice, who was paid $150 for her “efforts,” was found out after one of them contacted a lawyer regarding a divorce. Investigators determined that the ceremony never happened and that Van Nice had faked the signatures of two fictional witnesses.
The two unnamed groom are not facing charges, as authorities believe they were hapless victims of a scam: “We determined that they basically were the ones that were duped. I don’t think they were trying to fraudulently obtain a marriage license,” said Grunge County prosecutor Jennifer Miller. “They were told it was fine for them to not be in the state when they got married. I don’t think they realized it was not going to be a valid marriage.”