“These actions are an attack on the proper system of immigration control and also the institution of marriage.”
A ringleader, in charge a fake visa weddings-for-cash operation, has been jailed after he was caught out at his own fake marriage ceremony.
51- year –old Harpal Singh was said to have made up to £5,000 for each bogus wedding he arranged between East Europeans women and Asian Students whose visas were due to expire.
Singh opted to use Czech women living in Britain, as their EU citizenship would allow their new husbands to live in the UK.
Cardiff Crown Court heard how Indian-born Singh had entered Britain in 2006 with a six month visa, along with his wife and three children.
But after two failed immigration applications in 2009 and 2011, he was caught trying to marry a Czech woman at Cardiff Register Office in May last year, with what appeared to be fake divorce papers.
Prosecutor Andrew Davies said: ‘Singh would arrange marriages for Pakistani, Indian and Nepalese men who were either about to have visas run out or had overstayed.
‘He would arrange for them to marry Czech women who had EU residency and therefore could confer this to any husbands.
‘As far as we can ascertain he arranged four sham weddings – one of which was his own.
‘The men would pay him to facilitate the marriage and the Czech women would be paid to get married to provide EU citizenship.’
The Forrest Gate local was caught after registry officials doubted the authenticity of his divorce documents and was arrested on the morning of his supposed marriage.
Mr Davies said: ‘He had two bags with him which had a number of other people’s documents and passports in them.
‘Some were related to sham marriages we could identify and others we could not.
‘He retained the ID documents and cards of participants to encourage them to pay the money and go through with the sham marriages.’
Documentation found with Mr Singh, led to the further arrests of two students of Pakistani origin and a Czech woman, who were set to enter into sham marriages arranged by the fraudster.
The fake marriages were due to take place in registry offices around the UK, in Cardiff, Leeds and Motherwell.
Judge Neil Bidder QC told the accused: ‘These actions are an attack on the proper system of immigration control and also the institution of marriage.
‘You, Singh, planned to make money by exploiting people’s desires to remain in the country and preyed on women’s financial hardship.
‘It is a shameful thing that you did – a truly shameful thing.’
Mr Singh was sentenced for four years and 20 weeks, with Judge Bidder adding: “It is my view that you should be deported.”