Poplar sham marriage pair jailed for total of six years

An east London “couple” who devised an elaborate immigration scam have been jailed for a total of six years.

Mohammed Tanin, 26, and Maria Marques, 47, arranged to take thousands of pounds to arrange sham marriages between Bangladeshi men and Portuguese women.

Tanin, of Willis Street, Poplar, was sentenced to four years and Marques, of East India Dock Road, Poplar got two years at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday.

The couple themselves had married at the Registry Office in Bow Church in November 2009.

Atiq Haque, who led the UK Border Agency’s investigation, said: “This case shows the desperate nature of immigration crime with large sums of money changing hands and people being prepared to enter into a full marriage with someone they barely know.”

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The couple were stopped at Luton Airport in June 2010 after they were found travelling with several Portuguese women, whose travel documents they were carrying.

The following month, the UK Border Agency received applications for four Bangladeshi men in the UK on valid student visas to marry four of the women.

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The men were arrested and later made full admissions implicating Tanin and Marques, admitting they had paid between �2,000 and �3,000 for their services.

Later probes showed that Tanin had tried to create a back story for each bride to be and further incriminating documents were found on his laptop.

He and Marques were charged with conspiracy to facilitate a breach of UK immigration law.

They had both denied the charges.

Two Portuguese ‘brides’ pleaded guilty to conspiracy to arrange their own sham marriages and were each given 14 day jail terms.

The UK Border Agency said the remaining ‘brides’ have not been traced and are believed to have returned to Portugal.

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