PORTLAND — A federal jury has convicted a Ugandan man of being at the center of a scheme in which dozens of Mainers got paid to marry people from Uganda and Kenya so that the foreign nationals could stay in the United States.

Rashid Kakande, a 37-year-old Massachusetts man originally from Uganda, was convicted today of conspiring to defraud the U.S. government following a four-day trial. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine and could face deportation after his release.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gail Fisk Malone said Kakande and others who worked with him arranged dozens of marriages, most of which were performed in Lewiston. The U.S. citizens were paid $1,500 to get married and up to a total of $6,000 if they followed up with meetings with lawyers and immigration officials to help portray the marriage as legitimate.

Kakande told investigators he was paid $1,000 to $1,500 for arranging the marriages. The government said the conspiracy ran from at least 2003 to 2007, according to testimony. Many of those involved in the scheme, including the Mainers who participated in the sham marriages, have already pled guilty, though they have not been sentenced.

Kakande’s lawyer, Thomas Greco, argued that the government’s witnesses were not credible, that many suffered from substance abuse issues and they were trying to please the government so they would not be punished for their own illegal behavior related to fake marriages.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge John A. Woodcock ordered Kakande held pending sentencing, until Kakande can persuade him he’s not a flight risk.

Another man also charged in connection with the scheme, James Mbugua, 49, is currently on the run after allegedly jumping bail.