Fake wedding couple jailed after groom had to ask his bride's name
A fake wedding couple have been jailed for immigration offences after the groom had to ask his wife-to-be's name.
The Home Office said Pakistani Zubair Khan, 28, and Hungarian Beata Szilagyi, 33, were arrested in Hull minutes before their bogus ceremony in October.
As the couple tried to use the scam to enable Khan to stay in the UK, Khan had to make a telephone call to marriage fixer Khaliq Dad Khan to ask his bride's name during a meeting with the registrar before the ceremony.
Home Office investigators were alerted by the registrar and arrested the pair at Hull Register Office.
Today, Khan, of Patrick Connolly Gardens, London, and Szilagyi, of Lichfield Close, Hull, were sentenced to 20 months and 17 months respectively at Hull Crown Court, the spokesman confirmed.
They both admitted conspiracy to facilitate a breach of immigration law.
Khaliq Dad Khan, 48, also of Patrick Connolly Gardens, was jailed for 20 months after pleading guilty to the same charge. He was also arrested at the register office on October 9 last year.
Home Office investigator Andy Sharpe, from Immigration Enforcement Criminal Investigations, said: "This was a farcical but nonetheless serious attempt to cheat the UK's immigration laws.
"At a pre-wedding registrar appointment, Zubair Khan could not even remember the name of his prospective bride.
"The sentences handed out today reflect the gravity of their criminality.
"We continue to crack down on sham marriage abuse, and we work very closely with registrars to identify suspicious marriages. We will not hesitate to act where we believe a relationship is not genuine.
"This case shows that the people who attempt to abuse the system will be caught, and they will end up in prison."
Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire said: "This case shows that the tough action we are taking against sham marriage abuse is working. The criminal gangs who try to cheat their way around our immigration laws will not escape justice.
"This government has done more than any before it to clamp down on those seeking to abuse the UK's immigration system.
"Last year, our investigators intervened in more than 2,400 suspected sham marriages - almost twice as many as the year before. The new Immigration Act, which became law last year, gives us a much stronger platform to identify, disrupt and deter marriages which are not genuine."