A trio of foreign nationals have been found guilty of arranging sham marriages in exchange for UK spouse visas and cash.
Czech national Karel Pospisil was found guilty of assisting unlawful entry into a member state, while Nigerian national Abiodun Akintelu was found guilty of seeking to obtain leave to remain in the UK by deception. Both pleaded guilty at a hearing last week (Friday, November 16th).
A 22-year-old Czech woman, Lucie Kristova, also pleaded guilty to assisting unlawful entry into a member state at an earlier court hearing in September. The trio will all be sentenced on December 17th.
Emma Smith, part of the UK Border Agency's criminal and financial investigation team in Nottingham, commented: “We are pleased that our work to crack this sham marriage scam has resulted in convictions for all three individuals.
“We will continue to clamp down on sham marriages and other forms of immigration abuse. Anyone attempting to benefit illegally from the privileges of life in the UK faces prison and deportation.”
The charges in this case were the result of investigations into two sham marriages conducted at churches in Nottingham. The first took place in October 2009 and saw Kristova marry a Bangladeshi man, Shaikat Hussain. The second marriage was between Pospisil and Akintelu and took place in September 2010.
The crimes were discovered during a series of raids in January 2011. Immigration officers discovered that Akintelu's UK visa had expired in October 2010 and that she had submitted an application to remain in the country on the basis of a marriage to an EEA national. Hussain had taken similar actions, but both applications were refused after the sham marriages were discovered.
UK spouse visas are issued to genuine couples who are able to provide for each other financially. But the immigration authorities take a hard line of those seeking to remain in the country and claim long-term residency through a sham marriage.