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BALTIMORE -- An Ocean City man has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for helping 70 people fraudulently apply for asylum benefits.

Thirty-six-year-old Gasim Manafov, who also lived in Charlotte, N.C., had pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit immigration fraud.

He was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Baltimore. According to his plea agreement, Manafov helped noncitizens wishing to enter or stay in the United State apply for asylum.

Prosecutors say he gave applicants fake stories to describe how the person's family was purportedly hurt or killed due to political or ethnic affiliation.

Manafov also provided fake documents, prepared the applicants for interviews with immigration officials, and attended the interviews.