Lithuanian woman flew to Ireland to marry Bangladeshi man for visa purposes - court hears
Published 17/11/2015 | 15:29
A Lithuanian woman was flown into the country to marry a Bangladeshi man so he could get a visa, Dublin Circuit Court has heard.
Rita Skvarcinskaite was scheduled to fly home again six hours after marrying the man in County Cavan in August. Instead she has spent the intervening three months in custody.
The mother of two was recruited online by an unnamed third party who would have been paid “a significant sum” to arrange the sham marriage, according a member of the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB). She was promised €1,500 which she claims she never received.
Skvarcinskaite (42) of Utena, Lithuania pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to one count of providing false and misleading information and one count of using a doctored Permanent TSB bill on May 21, 2015 at the Civil Registration Office, Gate Lodge, Lisdarn, Cavan town
She also pleaded guilty to one count of using a doctored utility bill at the same location on August 24. The Bangladeshi man cannot be named as he is the subject of an investigation.
Detective Garda Breandan O Somachain of the GNIB told Anne Marie Lawlor BL, prosecuting, that Skvarcinskaite first entered the country on March 9, 2015 to apply for a PPS number. She received this number on March 12 and returned to Lithuania.
She briefly returned again in May 2015. Accompanied by the Bangladeshi man, she visited the Civil Registration office in Cavan to provide the legally required three months notice of their intent to marry, and a forged Permanent TSB letter addressed to them jointly at an apartment in Cork city.
On August 24, they returned to the office to hand in a second bogus bill ahead of the ceremony. But gardaí from the GNIB objected to the marriage and the registrar did not allow it to proceed.
Skvarcinskaite was subsequently arrested at Dublin airport on August 26 as she headed for a 6.10pm flight home. Her marriage had been due to take place at 12.00 noon.
She initially said she intended to return to Ireland soon to live with her would-be husband but was only able to provide vague details of how they met, said Det Gda O'Somachain. She later made full admissions.
Keith Spencer BL, defending, told Judge Martin Nolan that the woman agreed to the marriage as she could find only seasonal employment and had two sons to support. He also said she had cooperated with gardaí fully in their investigation.
Judge Nolan sentenced Skvarcinskaite to time already served.
Det Gda O Somachain told Judge Nolan that neither party needed to be resident in Ireland to legally marry here. He said that in “99% of investigations” of sham marriages, a non-EU national applies for asylum and receives a PPS number in order to marry an EU national who may or may not be resident.
He told Judge Nolan that the Bangladeshi man only applied for refugee status here after the date of Skvarcinskaite's first visit.
The offences committed in May are contrary to the Theft and Fraud Offences Act, 2001 and section 69(3) of the Civil Registration Act 2004 which makes it an offence to give false information to a civil registrar.