Slovakian Pakistani sham marriage gang caught red handed with instruction sheets to remind couples of their fake stories and bogus partners’ names, the Telegraph reports.
The gang of Slovakian and Pakistani nationals was arrested after a raid on a marriage ceremony at Leeds Town Hall.
The bride and groom, Pakistani Muhammad Usman, and Slovakian Maria Racova, were arrested during the operation on March 28.
The rest of the wedding party were checked and some of them also found to have been involved in sham marriages or have been planning fake weddings with bogus brides, the UK Border Agency said.
Searches of the houses used in Leeds and Bradford found a range of evidence suggesting sham marriages.
This included crib sheets with questions and answers for the fake couples covering topics including full names, birthdays, details of their first meeting at a cinema and favourite type of music.
A number of members of the gang were jailed yesterday at Leeds Crown Court.
Usman was jailed for 18 months and Racova sentenced to a nine-month prison term suspended for 12 months with 150 hours community service.
Farrukh Khan, who devised the scheme, was jailed for two years and three months. Lukas Murgos, who recruited the girls, was jailed for two years and six months. Muhammad Mughal was jailed for 18 months.
Syed Gardezi was jailed for 21 months and Eva Facunova was given a 51-week sentence suspended for two years and ordered to do 200 hours of community service.
Ivana Holubova was sentenced to a nine-month jail term suspended for 12 months with 150 hours community service. Zlatica Holubova was given a 12-month conditional discharge.
Racova, 22, Usman, 24, Mughal, 32, and Ivana Holubova, 24, all pleaded guilty to an immigration offence. Khan, 24, pleaded guilty on the first day of a trial at Leeds Crown Court. Facunova, 32, Murgos, 23, Zlatica Holubova, 29, and Gardezi, 21, were all found guilty after a two-week trial.
Usman and Gardezi were both in the UK illegally at the time of their arrests, having overstayed their respective student visas.
Immigration Minister Damian Green said: “This gang has systematically abused the immigration system and has shown a complete disregard for the sanctity of marriage.
“The UK Border Agency is taking strong action to crack down on sham marriages nationwide. Our message could not be clearer – we will not tolerate immigration abuse and we will take decisive action against those involved.”
Racova, the Holubova sisters and Murgos lived in Brompton Road, Bradford, and Usman and Gardezi lived in Lambton Terrace, Harehills, Leeds.
Khan and Mughal lived in Hartman Place, Bradford – a separate address from the Holubova sisters whom they had married just months previously. Facunova lived at Vivian Place, Great Horton, Bradford. Source: The Telegraph.
Bogus marriage gangs favour EU partners to take advantage of less stringent EEA Immigration Rules.
The UK Border Agency has been cracking down on sham marriage operations with several successful raids in recent months.
Earlier this month a Church of England vicar was facing a long prison sentence after admitting staging 31 sham marriages. The Rev Canon John Magumba, 58, conducted weddings between illegal immigrant brides and grooms and EU passport holders they barely knew so they could remain in Britain and eventually apply for UK naturalisation.
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