Sham marriage group in court
Nine people involved in a sham marriage scam master-minded by a Luton businessman appeared in Luton Crown Court for sentencing today.
They are all charged with conspiracy to facilitate a breach of immigration laws, and the case centres on Gyash Uddin of Ivy Road, Luton who used his restaurant Moja in Leighton Buzzard, as a cover for the scam.
Polish women, who worked in the Mill Road restaurant or pretended to work there, arranged to marry Bangladeshi men to secure them residency in the UK.
Luton residents and Polish nationals Mariusz Rohde, 28, of Hitchin Road, Dorota Wysocka, 45, of Studley Road; Katarzyna Potrykus, 40, of Cowper Road; Aneta Szczepanik, 35, of Kingsland Road; and Kamila Drozdowska, 28, of Bute Street, and Bangladeshi-British man Tera Miah, 58, of Hitchin Road, pleaded guilty to the charge at an earlier hearing.
Uddin and Bangladeshi nationals Mohammed Razul Miah, 35, of Mill Road, Leighton Buzzard, and Mohammed Dolon Miah, 35, of Spencer Road, Luton, were found guilty after a five week trial at Luton Crown Court.
The only sham marriage which went ahead was that of Wysocka and Razul Miah at Leighton Buzzard Register Office on February 19 2011, despite Wysocka being in a long-term relationship with Rohde.
Rohde acted as an interpreter for Wysocka during the marriage process, but when officers visited Wysocka’s address, they found her in bed with him.
Video footage from a mobile phone showed Rohde interpreting as he, Wysocka and Uddin discussed the sham marriage.
The UK Border Agency launched an investigation after registrars expressed concern about the wedding of Wysocka and Razul Miah, as there was a clear language barrier between the bride and groom and they did not interact with each other.
After the marriage, Razul Miah’s application for UK residency, based solely on his marriage, was not successful.
During his immigration appeal hearing, the judge said: “This was the the clearest case of a sham marriage that it is possible to envisage. This is an absolute disgrace and was a marriage intended to drive a coach and horses through effective immigration control in this country.”
Luton Crown Court heard how a £200 wedding dress bought from a shop in Luton was intended to be used in all the marriages, but the planned marriages of Drozdowska and Dolon Miah, and Potrykus and a Bangladeshi man did not go ahead.
Potrykus lived with her Polish partner and children in Cowper Street, Luton. She arranged to marry a Bangladeshi national for a payment of £7000 but changed her mind.
British citizen Tera Miah was going to marry Uddin’s sister-in-law Salma Begum but was denied the certificate of application. Salma Begum arrived in the UK just a few weeks before the marriage application, and is still at large in the UK.
Andy Radcliffe from the UK Border Agency said: “Uddin took advantage of his position as a restaurateur to sponsor people to enter the UK, knowing full well that they never planned to go home.
“At every turn, our investigators found his fingerprints all over the case, with the evidence pinpointing him as the main player. He acted as an interpreter at some of the weddings and money went to the EU nationals direct from his account. He also staged a reception for one of the weddings at Moja, the façade of a happy marriage undermined when both the bride and groom went back to work in the kitchens just half an hour into the celebration.
“By bringing Uddin and his accomplices to justice, we have destroyed their criminal business and shown just how seriously we take abuse of the immigration system.”
The nine defendants sat in the dock with two interpreters, to hear prosecutor Will Nobel read his opening statement.
The case continues.
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Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 14 C
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Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
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