Jailed: Sham marriage punter from Redbridge who tried to 'cheat immigration system'
PUBLISHED: 16:03 25 January 2019
A phoney groom from Redbridge who bought a sham marriage in an attempt to flout immigration rules has been jailed.
Pakistani national Zia Uddin, 34, of Wanstead Lane, was jailed at the Old Bailey on Wednesday, January 23.
The court heard how he and Ameen Ul Haq, 31, of Longbridge Road, both tied the knot with imported Lithuanian brides, who would fly back home shortly after the nuptials, in a bid to extend their leave to remain in the UK.
Ul Haq was sentenced in his absence having failed to attend court.
An investigation by Immigration Enforcement’s Criminal and Financial Investigation (CFI) team found that Uddin had paid the one of the scheme’s ringleaders, 33-year-old Ayaz Khan, £11,850 ahead of his wedding at a Newham register office in October 2011.
Khan’s 25-year-old wife Jurgita Pavlovskyte also transferred cash to Ul Haq’s bride on October 31 2013, ahead of his wedding in April the following year.
Both Uddin and Ul Haq both had limited leave to remain in the UK and submitted fresh immigration applications around the time that the marriages took place.
Khan and Pavlovskyte, the husband and wife team who masterminded the scheme, were both jailed in April last year.
The couple, who lived in Danehurst Road, Redbridge, marketed the marriages as 3,000 Euro ‘business deals’. Brides ranged in age from 18 to 25.
The fake grooms would later use their marriages documents as evidence to support applications for leave to remain.
Hannah Shirley, the CFI team’s acting assistant director, said: “CFI officers played a vital role in this investigation, uncovering evidence to prove that these marriages were a sham.
“The individuals were attempting to cheat the immigration system and push ahead of people who play by the rules.
“We will not allow people to exploit our immigration system in this way and anyone caught trying to do so will be brought to justice through the courts.”
Ul Haq was sentenced to two years and six months in jail after being found guilty of securing the avoidance of enforcement action; and obtaining leave by deception.
Uddin was jailed for 18 months after being found guilty of securing the avoidance of enforcement action.
Anyone with information on Ul Haq’s whereabouts or about suspected immigration abuse can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 anonymously or visit http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org.