A SHAM MARRIAGE ring that operated in the area has been busted by Immigration Enforcement.

The gang of eight, that operated in Slough, Hounslow and Ilford, would arrange fraudulent marriages between Pakistani men based in the UK – who either had no leave to remain, or whose leave was about to expire – and Lithuanian women flown in to take part in the ceremony.

These weddings were marketed as ‘business deals’, costing 3,000 Euros, with all the brides aged between 18 and 25. The Lithuanian women would take part in the ceremony and depart shortly afterwards, once their fees had been paid.

Investigations lead the Immigration Enforcement’s Criminal and Financial Investigation (CFI) team to the ringleaders, a 25-years-old Lithuanian woman Jurgita Pavlovskyte and her 33-years-old Pakistani husband, Ayaz Khan, both of Ilford.

Another member of the gang Muhammad Saqlain, of Worcester Gardens, Slough, worked as a driver, transporting women to and from the airport, as well as training them to pass marriage interviews. He had obtained leave to remain in the country by entering into a sham marriage with another member of the group, Tatjana Rolic.

Khan was jailed for six years, his wife Pavlovskyte was jailed for five, and Saqlain was imprisoned for three, each on a charge of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration. Rolic was given an 18 month sentence, suspended for two years, for facilitation. A total of 23 years imprisonment was handed out to the eight members of the gang.

Assistant director David Fairclough, from the Immigration Enforcement CFI team, said: “Today’s sentences are the culmination of a thorough and detailed investigation by my officers, which involved searching through a large amount of financial evidence.

“This was an organised criminal operation, and not the genuine enterprise Pavlovskyte and Khan made it out to be. They, and the other defendants sentenced today, were motivated by financial gain.” in return for arranging individuals to cheat their way into the UK.

“We will not allow people to abuse our immigration laws in this way and anyone caught trying to do so will be brought before the courts.”