The UK Border Agency reports that four people have been jailed for a total of more than six years for their part in a sham marriage scam involving Nigerian and Dutch nationals.
The investigation was triggered when our officers identified the suspicious travel patterns of passengers flying in and out of Luton and Stansted Airports on tickets purchased by Adeolu Eletu, a 29-year-old Nigerian.
On 10 February, our officers from the immigration crime team (East), arrested Daniloush Solano, a 21-year-old Dutch woman, at Luton Airport as she attempted to board a flight to Amsterdam.
Investigations revealed that earlier that day Solano had married Eletu at a church in Wood Green, London. She was paid 1,500 euros for her role.
Eletu was subsequently arrested on 27 February at his home address in Falcon Brae, Livingston. His Nigerian girlfriend Helen Omoboye, 33, was also arrested. She had been due to participate in a sham marriage of her own at the same Wood Green venue on 11 February.
Sylvernus Ogungbade, a 36-year-old Nigerian, was also arrested on 10 February after officers established that Solano had caught her taxi to Luton Airport from his home in Goldbeater’s Grove, Edgware. Immigration checks revealed that Ogungbade, who was living alone, had recently applied for a visa on the back of his marriage to a Dutch woman who is still wanted by us.
Last week at Luton Crown Court, Eletu, Ogungbade and Omoboye pleaded guilty to conspiring to breach the UK’s immigration laws. Eletu and Omoboye also pleaded guilty to perjury charges.
Eletu was sentenced to two years eight months, Omoboye was sentenced to 18 months and Ogungbade was sentenced to a year and eight months. Solano had pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to breach the UK’s immigration laws and perjury at an earlier hearing on June 10. She was sentenced to 12 months.
Sam Bullimore, assistant director, UK Border Agency said:
‘The sentences handed out show how seriously we, and the courts, take these kinds of attempts to undermine our immigration laws.
‘We will not tolerate immigration abuse and, as these convictions demonstrate, our immigration crime teams are creating a hostile environment for those who break the immigration laws. We know that sham marriage rackets are not just about getting a ticket to the UK, often the offenders are also involved in other forms of criminality. If we see marriages that are not genuine, we will challenge them and prosecute where appropriate.
‘People should be under no illusion that marriage is not enough to get permission to stay in the UK. Couples must also prove to the UK Border Agency that they have been in a genuine relationship for at least two years.’
Any foreign criminal sentenced to more than 12 months in prison for any offence is automatically considered for deportation. Source: UK Border Agency
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