A man who fixed up sham weddings for people looking to obtain UK spouse visas has been jailed for three years.
Glory Odigie, a 38-year-old Nigerian resident in East London, was found guilty of bigamy and sham marriage activities and sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court last week (Friday, July 27th) following earlier hearings.
He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to facilitate a non-EU person in to the UK and to charges of bigamy, fraud, pecuniary advantage by deception and obtaining leave to remain by deception.
He was arrested when a UK Border Agency (UKBA) criminal and financial investigation team raided his home address in Newham earlier this year. Investigations revealed that flights for Dutch nationals had been booked using Mr Odigie's details. The Dutch individuals had applied for documents and National Insurance numbers during their brief period in the UK before being 'married' to West Africans, who went on to apply for European Economic Area (EEA) residency status as spouses of EEA nationals.
Mr Odigie was found to have married two Dutch women himself, using different identities in a bid to obtain residency in this country. Meanwhile, he was in a relationship with 34-year-old Nigerian Julie Odigie, who has also been sentenced to 12 months jail time after pleading guilty to charges of obtaining leave by deception and pecuniary advantage by deception.
She had used the identity of one of Glory's wives to work and live in the UK until Glory arranged a sham marriage to a Dutch national to get her a UK spouse visa in her own name.
Rachel Bennett, from the UKBA, commented on the case: “I hope the sentences handed to Glory and Julie Odijie send out a message that we will not tolerate abuse of our immigration system.
“Those who facilitate sham marriages are breaking the law and will be held accountable for their actions. The UKBA is cracking down on sham marriages and those who seek to cheat immigration laws face prosecution and conviction.”