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Virginia Man Gets Married 3 Times, Gets Arrested for Bigamy

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

In what appears to be a case more about a divorce misunderstanding than an episode of Sister Wives, a Virginia man has been arrested for having multiple wives without ever getting divorced.

Frank Ernest Blake, Jr. was charged with two counts of bigamy and two counts of forgery, the latter for forging marriage licenses by giving false information about his previous marital status. And now he's looking at quite a bit of prison time.

Big Mistake

Blake had not divorced either of his two wives before marrying his current wife, Jessica. But there seems to be some confusion on that issue. In regards to his first wife, Blake told Virginia's WTVR, "I got papers in the mail saying we were divorced, but evidently you get two sets of papers. I signed my name and everything on it."

And wife number two "wasn't even real" as the two were only married for a couple weeks:

"I thought the marriage wasn't real and that's why I got married to Jessica," Blake said. "I still love her and that's who I want to be with."

We're guessing it was real to somebody, as police said they were contacted by a victim who claimed her husband married her knowing full well that his previous marriage was still valid.

Big Trouble

His little misunderstanding could cost Blake -- bigamy is illegal in all 50 states and can be prosecuted as a felony under Virginia law. Virginia statute § 18.2-362 states:

If any person, being married, shall, during the life of the husband or wife, marry another person in this Commonwealth, or if the marriage with such other person take place out of the Commonwealth, shall thereafter cohabit with such other person in this Commonwealth, he or she shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.

The forgery charges are also Class 4 felonies, which carry a maximum sentence of ten years in prison. If convicted of all four charges, that means Blake could serve up to 40 years behind bars and pay $400,000 in fines. This all seems pretty harsh assuming Blake is telling the truth about this being a mistake: "It's embarrassing and I don't see how it even got to this ... I really did not know I was breaking the law."

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