Nigerian and Cameroonian men who organized sham marriages jailed in the UK
Two men who orchestrated sham marriage scam in the UK have been jailed. Martin Okoko, 31, a Nigerian national and a 45-year-old Cameroonian national organised bogus weddings in an attempt to by-pass immigrations rules.
The court heard that the two men sourced Hungarian ‘brides’ and ‘grooms’ for bogus weddings, and arranged for them to fly to the UK to take part.
Miss Knight said the marriages were later used as the basis for applications for leave to remain and work in the UK, and the pair produced and supplied fake paperwork such as payslips and employer references to support the applications.
Individuals were charged a minimum of £3,000 for the sham services. Judge Robert Brown said: “There’s very real and understandable public concern over breaches in immigration law.”
He said the organisers committed the scam for “pure greed”, but said Okoko, who saw it as an opportunity to make money when his business was failing, was “slightly lesser involved than Odume”.
Odume qualified as a doctor in Nigeria and a reference praising his former work at Leicester Royal Infirmary was read out in court.
Two brides and a groom involved in taking part in the weddings were also sentenced for one count each of assisting in unlawful immigration.
Kelechi Osuchukwu (36), formerly of Kelvin Road, Walsall, a Nigerian national, failed to attend court for his trial and was convicted and sentenced in his absence to three years imprisonment. A warrant was issued for this arrest and the judge said he faced a consecutive term for absconding.
Mother-of-one Blandine Tietchem (31), a Cameroon national, of Millwood Close, off Thurcaston Road, Leicester, who was a nurse in a Leicester-based intensive care unit, wept as she was jailed for two years, having been convicted by the jury.
Hungarian national Ramona Horvath (25), of no fixed address, who is due to give birth in February, pleaded guilty and gave evidence during the trial for the prosecution. She was given an eight month sentence. The judge said they all faced deportation.