90 Day Fiance Stars Who Got In Trouble With The Law

Loyal fans of reality television may have noticed that there seems to be an uncanny connection between reality stars and crime, in that numerous folks who have  become stars via reality TV have also come up against the law. Some of the most notorious have been: "Chrisley Knows Best" couple Todd and Julie Chrisley, currently behind bars after being convicted of tax fraud; Jen Shah of "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City," jailed over a telemarketing scam; and first "Survivor" winner Richard Hatch, who was sentenced to 51 months in the slammer for not paying taxes on his million-dollar winnings. Other well-known reality stars who received prison sentences (and, bear in mind, this is just a partial list) include Mike "The Situation" of "Jersey Shore Fame," "Real Housewives of New Jersey" fan favorite Teresa Giudice, Josh Duggar of "19 Kids and Counting," "Cheer" star Jerry Harris, and Abby Lee Miller of "Dance Moms."

Yet when it comes to the sheer volume of criminal activity, it's tough to beat TLC's "90 Day Fiancé" and its spinoff series. Perhaps there's some sort of a psychological link between pursuing long-distance romance with people in faraway lands and breaking the law, but cast members of the various "90 Day Fiancé" franchises have shown a marked tendency to wind up in court — and, in some cases, a cellblock.

For proof, just keep reading for a rundown of some "90 Day Fiancé" stars who got in trouble with the law.

Geoffrey Paschel was sentenced to 18 years behind bars

Geoffrey Paschel joined the "90 Day" franchise in the 2020 season of "90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days," with the show following the progress of his long-distance romance with a Russian woman named Varya. What viewers weren't told, however, was that Paschel had a lengthy criminal record; in fact, around the same time the season made its debut on TLC, Paschel was in court facing an array of charges, ranging from aggravated kidnapping to domestic assault. Those charges resulted from his 2019 arrest over an allegedly violent altercation with an ex. At the time, backlash was severe; viewers of "90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days," launched a petition calling for Paschel's removal from the show.

In 2022, Paschel was convicted on all four charges he'd been hit with. The judge in the case, reported People, was clearly sending a message by sentencing Paschel to 18 years in prison, with no possibility of parole. As the magazine pointed out, the district attorney in the case referenced Paschel's previous conviction for possession with intent to sell a controlled substance — for which he reportedly spent 13 months in prison — in addition to two federal drug trafficking charges as the reason behind that unusually stiff sentence. "With the sentence in this case, no other victims will be abused by this offender for a long time," DA Charme Allen said in a statement.

Paul Staehle was accused of arson and insurance fraud

Paul Staehle's volatile relationship with Brazilian wife Karine Martins first played out in "90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days," and then in "90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way," and again in "90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After?" As it turned out, Staehle had a criminal record dating back to a somewhat nefarious incident in 2007. As Starcasm reported, he was arrested and charged with arson after he allegedly set a fire that was intended to defraud an insurance company. Seven years later, he was ultimately convicted of felony arson, and presumably spent some time behind bars. According to information the site obtained from the Kentucky Department of Corrections, he was under supervised probation that was scheduled to conclude in 2020. 

That wasn't Staehle's only brush with the law. In 2013, he was arrested and charged with ignoring an emergency protective order after some type of incident involving an ex-girlfriend, who had been issued a domestic violence order that prohibited him from getting anywhere near her.

Staehle addressed the latter incident on the show, albeit obliquely. "One of the relationships I was in ended so badly, it ended up getting me in some serious trouble and I haven't explained it all to Karine yet," Staehle said during a "90 Days" confessional in 2017, as reported by Us Weekly.

Darcey Silva was arrested over a brawl with her sister

Viewers were first introduced to Darcey Silva in the very first season of "90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days" back in 2017. Silva proved to be such a fan favorite that in 2020 she and identical twin sister Stacey were tapped for their own spinoff series, "Darcey & Stacey." That sibling relationship turned violent during a late-night fracas that required police intervention, with both sisters placed under arrest. According to an arrest report in The Middleton Press, each twin was issued a misdemeanor summons for disorderly conduct after an argument escalated into a physical confrontation.  

A statement from the arresting officer, via Starcasm, offers even more sordid details, including Stacey claiming that Darcey had been hurling objects, while Stacey also admitted that she'd knocked over a lamp and even flipped over a table, Teresa Giudice-style. "Witnesses ... reported observing both of them fight with each other. [redacted] stated that they both started arguing with each other and it eventually escalated into a cat fight.' [redacted] reported that both Darcey Silva and Victim # 2/0ffender # 2 were mutually attacking each other," the police report stated. 

During a 2018 appearance on the "90 Day Fiancé" after-show, Darcey addressed reports of the incident, admitting they were arguing but denying things became physically violent. "We did argue, it was late at night — I'm not going to go into too much detail, but we learned our lesson," she said, as reported by InTouch.

Josh Batterson's criminal record included assault and disorderly conduct

Josh Batterson and his Filipino bride-to-be Aika made their television debut in the fifth season of "90 Day Fiancé" in 2017. As Starcasm reported, one of Batterson's previous relationships took a wrong turn that landed him behind bars. According to the outlet, in March 2010, he was arrested and booked for disorderly conduct and assault, following an altercation in which he allegedly punched his 28-year-old then-wife in the face and also shoved her roughly down an embankment. The charges were subsequently dropped when the woman refused prosecutors' request for cooperation. 

That, however, wasn't his only arrest. A few years prior to that, in 2007, he was arrested on DUI charges. The outlet offered no further information, however, as to whether he was convicted or wound up serving any time. 

Batterson's ex — identified only as Mel — opened up about the ugly incident in an interview with Reality Blurb, as reported by InTouch. "He did punch me in the face that night for sure," she said but insisted that the violence that erupted that night wasn't a habitual thing. "I didn't press charges because it was the first incident and I was stupid and in love."

Tim Clarkson was arrested for DUI

Tim Clarkson and Colombian girlfriend Melyza Zeta were first introduced to TLC viewers in the second season of "90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way." After a rocky relationship, she was able to forgive his infidelity and accept his proposal in 2021. "Our engagement feels right," she told People of becoming Clarkson's fiancée. "Putting a ring on it doesn't solve it all, but it's definitely a big step in the right direction, surely one that we wanted to take years ago." The couple then surprised fans the following year when they announced, via an Instagram post that was quickly deleted, that they'd welcomed a baby.

Prior to meeting his future fiancée, Clarkson was busted for a DUI back in 2015. According to court documents obtained by InTouch, Clarkson was pulled over for operating a motor vehicle with an expired registration during a routine traffic stop. During his conversation with Clarkson, the officer observed Clarkson's "bloodshot watery eyes and a strong odor of ingested alcohol." A breathalyzer test demonstrated that Clarkson's blood alcohol level was above the legal limit, and he was arrested and taken into police custody. 

Because this was Clarkson's first offence, he got off lightly. He was reportedly released a few hours after his arrest and initially entered a plea of not guilty. He subsequently changed that plea to guilty and cut a deal, avoiding prison by paying a fine and taking a 48-hour drunk-driving education course during weekends.

Danielle Jbali was charged with theft and forgery

Danielle Jbali has been part of the "90 Day Fiancé" universe since the mother of four first appeared in the original series' second season, along with her future ex-husband Mohamed Jbali, who hailed from Tunisia. 

Prior to opening up her life to reality TV cameras, Jbali had a brush with the law when she was arrested in 2004, charged with theft and forgery over a bad check — both felonies. According to Starcasm, the felony charges were ultimately dropped and she was convicted on one count of misdemeanor theft. She was sentenced to probation for two years and was also ordered to pay back the $610 owed on the check. Speaking with the outlet, Djabil shared her side of the story. "I stopped payment on a check, and when that expired, the person tried to cash it and then took me to court for passing a bad check," she explained.

Looking back at what happened, nearly 20 years later, Jbali admitted she was regretful about what took place but refused to let that one action define her character. "People make mistakes and regret it, but it does not mean they are a bad person," she added. "There are circumstances that explain why people do stuff, and it isn't right to keeping bringing it up after so many years have passed."

Jon Walters has been convicted of assault — and not just once

Brit Jon Walters and American fiancée Rachel Bear first caught the eye of TLC viewers when they made their debut in the second season of "90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days" back in 2018; they tied the knot that same year. As viewers witnessed, his journey to come to America was complicated by the criminal record that followed him from Great Britain. 

Those criminal charges, he explained on the show, were all assault charges from his younger days, when he tended to get into a lot of fights. "When I was young, I grew up in not a great area, having to choose between being stamped on or fighting to get away," he explained, as reported by InTouch. One of those fights, he revealed, took place while he was attending university, when he wound up getting into it with a group of guys who were trash-talking him and his friends. "I got really mad and they tried grabbing me, and by the end of it, they all got punched," Walters recalled. He was ultimately convicted of bodily harm without intent. 

While he didn't wind up doing any time, the conviction did result in him getting kicked out of school. According to Walters, he's learned his lesson and has continually insisted that the violent brawler of his youth is no longer who he is now that he's older, wiser and, presumably, a lot more calm. 

Larissa Dos Santos Lima barely avoided jail time after several arrests

Larissa Dos Santos Lima made a big impression on viewers of "90 Day Fiancé" when she first appeared in the sixth season. Her volatile relationship with Colt Johnson provided a seemingly endless stream of drama until she was fired by TLC due to a lingerie-themed webcam show that the network deemed too steamy.

During the course of her time on the series, the Brazil-born social media influencer had a few scrapes with the cops. In 2018, she was arrested after a scuffle in Las Vegas with then-husband Johnson. "At the conclusion of the investigation, it was determined that Dos Santos had committed Battery Domestic Violence on her husband and transported to the Clark County Detention Center," a police spokesperson told People. A few months later, her lawyer managed to negotiate a plea deal so that the charge — originally domestic battery — was reduced to disorderly conduct.

She was arrested again, two more times, for domestic battery on both occasions. Then, in 2020, she was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers, with her lawyer chalking it up to a misunderstanding involving her immigration status. She was subsequently released. Meanwhile, her multiple arrests did not go unmentioned on TLC. One episode of ”90 Day Fiancé" followed her on a blind date, where her admission of having three domestic assault arrests under her belt didn't exactly prove endearing to her potential suitor.

Scottie Deem was sentenced to 20 years after being convicted of statutory rape

Scottie Deem definitely proved herself to be, as the saying goes, a piece of work. Scottie made some ancillary appearances in the "90 Day Fiancé" franchise after her mother, Angela Deem, and Nigerian fiancé Michael Ilesanmi first appeared in the second season of "90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days" back in 2018. Interestingly, that wasn't the first time that the mother-daughter duo appeared on television. Previously, they were featured in an episode of "Maury," when Angela accused Scottie of cheating with her then-boyfriend shortly before the latter became pregnant. 

In 2017, Scottie was arrested after a woman went to police with accusations that Scottie had sex with her minor grandchild, who was under the age of 16. She was initially indicted on numerous charges, including 13 counts of child molestation and another count of statutory rape, with prosecutors alleging she performed sex acts while in the presence of other minors.

In 2019, the charges were reduced slightly, and she entered a guilty plea to 11 counts of child molestation, one count of aggravated child molestation, and one count of statutory rape. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison. The following year, she was released after serving just 15 months, with the remainder of the sentence to be served under probation.

Jorge Nava went to prison after a traffic stop revealed 293 pounds of marijuana

Jorge Nava was first introduced to TLC viewers during the very first season of the original "90 Day Fiancé," alongside his Russian fiancée Anfisa Arkhipchenko. Their relationship, as those viewers clearly noticed, was of the train-wreck variety, particularly after they tied the knot. 

In February of 2018, Nava found himself in hot water when he was pulled over by a police officer in Arizona, and then placed under arrest when a search of his vehicle revealed he was transporting a whopping 293 pounds of marijuana. Because of the volume of weed he was carrying, Nava faced class 2 felony charges, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Nava managed to cut a plea deal, pleading guilty to a class 4 felony and sentenced to two-and-a-half years in the slammer.

During his incarceration, Nava embarked on a fitness and diet regimen, ultimately shedding 128 pounds while he was behind bars. "You know, it's hard, it's tough, like, you get depressed," Nava said of his time in prison during an appearance on "90 Day Fiancé: Bares All," via ET. "It's like one of those jaw-dropping moments. What am I gonna do in here for two years? And then slowly but surely, you start to get used to prison life, it's really not that bad."

Jason Hitch was arrested for domestic battery

In 2014, Jason Hitch was profiled in the second season of "90 Day Fiancé," documenting his engagement and subsequent marriage to Brazilian bride Cássia Tavares. The marriage didn't last. They separated in 2017 and filed for divorce the following year.

One reason underlying the split was likely an allegedly violent incident in 2017 that ended with Hitch's arrest. According to the incident report, obtained by RadarOnline, the couple were arguing while lying in bed, with the discussion becoming heated enough that he grabbed Tavares roughly by the arm, allegedly leaving a red mark on her skin. He then pushed her off the bed, causing her to tumble to the floor, and then began screaming at her until she called 911 and asked for police intervention. He was freed after posting a $500 bond, with charges later dropped.

In 2021, Jason Hitch died in the ICU of a Florida hospital, due to complications brought upon by COVID-19. According to Hitch's sister, he was unvaccinated but didn't have any underlying medical conditions of which the family was aware. He was 45.

Chuck Potthast was arrested for unpaid child support

Charles "Chuck" Potthast made his "90 Day Fiancé" debut in the fifth season of the original series, returning for spinoff "90 Day Diaries." As viewers will recall, he was a supporting player in the story that unfolded involving his daughter, Elizabeth "Libby" Potthast, and her Moldavian husband Andrei Castravet.

In the midst of all that onscreen drama, what the show's producers neglected to inform fans was that Chuck has a criminal record. Back in 2009, he was arrested in Florida over thousands of dollars in unpaid child support payments. At the time, he was facing a contempt of court charge for being delinquent in those payments to the tune of $17,564. He presumably paid up in order to avoid jail. 

In addition, his business — CDC Capital Investments LLC — was reportedly involved in several lawsuits alleging that the company was running a scam that involved renting out homes on which banks had already foreclosed, forcing tenants to move out on short notice. Reviews of the company on Yelp aren't exactly what one would describe as glowing, with reviewers using such words as "crooks," "evil," "horrible," and "very unprofessional."

Ben Rathburn was imprisoned for violating parole on an earlier DUI conviction

Ben Rathburn first joined the "90 Day Fiancé" franchise in the fifth season of "90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days," when he discussed his budding romance with Peruvian girlfriend Mahogany Roca. 

In March 2022, Rathburn was arrested, reportedly on suspicion of drunk driving, with bail set at $10,000. It was later revealed that the DUI arrest occurred back in 2020, for which he was eventually sentenced to 18 months of probation. The 2022 arrest came about because he had neglected to appear at a probation violation hearing the previous month. When he was a no-show, the judge in the case issued a bench warrant, which landed him behind bars. 

Rathburn was fired from his job with the Michigan Lupus Foundation over the arrest. Speaking with InTouch, he offered his version of what took place leading up to the initial DUI charge. "In September of 2020, I went to help a homeless couple living at a Red Roof Inn, and when they offered me a little plastic cup of wine, I stupidly accepted," he said, claiming that the wine had been spiked. "The next day, I attempted to drive home and hit the curb disabling my car. The police did a breathalyzer and found no alcohol, but later they did a blood draw at the station and found flubromazolam in my system," he added, referencing a potent anti-anxiety drug nicknamed liquid Xanax.

Mike Eloshway faced child sexual abuse material charges

Mike Eloshway and bride Aziza Mazhidova, hailing from Uzbekistan and 10 years his junior, were first seen in the first season of "90 Day Fiancé" back in 2014. One of the show's success stories, the couple got married, and in 2019 welcomed a daughter.

All seemed to be going well for the spouses until June 2023, when Eloshway was arrested. As Law & Crime reported, he was charged with federal sex crimes involving child sexual abuse material. The indictment alleged that Eloshway downloaded multiple child sexual abuse videos during a period spanning from February 2022 to March 2023. Each of the two counts with which he was charged carry a maximum sentence of 20 years each. Following his arrest, Eloshway deactivated his social media accounts, while his wife set her Instagram to private.

If you or anyone you know may be the victim of child abuse or domestic violence, contact the relevant resources below:

  • The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.