`Intensive investigations into sham marriages on in Northern Ireland
25th August 2011: Making money out of sham marriages? Be prepared to part ways with it.
The UK Border Agency has made it clear that ill-gotten money will be seized by it. The UKBA has also asserted that it has been carrying out intensive investigations into suspected sham marriages across the whole of Northern Ireland.
UKBA’s Crime Directorate Michael Wiggin said: ‘Crime doesn’t pay and sends a clear message – the UK Border Agency not only has the capability to detect and bring those involved in immigration crime to justice but also to deprive them of the rewards of their criminality.’
The assertion came after a south London man was ordered to forfeit £27,500 profit he made from a sham marriage operation.
The UKBA said the Magistrates told 38-year-old Sulaimon Lawal of Drovers Way in Peckham, who is already serving a five-year jail sentence after admitting conspiracy to facilitate illegal immigrants into the country, that the government will retain the money under the 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act.
Croydon Magistrates Court heard that our Immigration Crime Team discovered the money, when Lawal’s home was raided in November 2010.
Lawal was arrested after attempting to jump over the garden fence with a suitcase containing ‘packs’ of Home Office EEA application forms, false utility bills and accompanying documents, all believed to be false applications to the Home Office.
The UKBA added: `One of our Financial Investigation Units, based in Croydon, established that the cash was most likely to be Lawal’s profit from illegal activity.
`At the court hearing, on Thursday 11 August, magistrates ordered the forfeiture of the full £27,500 plus accrued interest. They agreed that the money was recoverable property, having been the proceeds of crime, and should not be returned to Lawal.
`A confiscation investigation remains ongoing in order to seize any assets belonging to Lawal which can be shown to be the result of his criminality’.
Referring to the sham marriage case of a Polish woman and a Pakistani man, the UKBA added intensive investigations into fake marriages across Northern Ireland were on by team of specialist immigration officers
UKBA’s senior criminal investigator Earl Aiken said: ‘These arrests are the result of intensive investigations into suspected sham marriages across the whole of Northern Ireland by our team of specialist immigration officers.
‘They reflect how seriously the UK Border Agency takes abuse of the immigration laws.’
Giving details, the UKBA said: `Two people arrested on Thursday 18 August as part of an investigation by our officers into a suspected sham marriage have been charged with immigration offences.
`Officers from the immigration crime team arrested a Polish woman and a Pakistani man at an address in Carryduff Co Down before their planned marriage in Newtownards on Friday 19 August.
`The would-be bride and groom were taken to Bangor police station where they were interviewed and charged.
`Imran Javed, a 31-year-old Pakistan national, was charged with seeking leave to remain in the UK by deception and obtaining leave to remain in the UK by deception having falsely claimed to be studying as a student in the UK.
`Javed appeared in Newtownards Magistrates Court on Friday 19 August and was remanded in custody.
`The 18-year-old Polish woman, charged with assisting unlawful immigration, was released on bail to appear at a later date’.