A GANG who ran a massive international sham marriage scam have been locked up for a total of more than 25 years.
The ‘huge, well-organised and professional’ operation was run from addresses on Broom Grove, Rotherham.
It involved British, Czech and Slovak women being flown to Pakistan to wed men who paid cash for the fake marriage and supporting documents such as staged photos – which were then used to apply for immigration to the UK.
Sheffield Crown Court heard none of the applications were actually successful – and the marriages were exposed as a con when the British High Commission in Islamabad became concerned about the bogus visa requests, of which more than 60 were made.
An investigation called Operation Razorback was then launched by the UK Border Agency and South Yorkshire Police - the biggest inquiry of its kind that the region has ever seen.
The ringleader of the scam was dad-of-five Talib Hussain, a taxi driver who ran the ‘sophisticated’ scheme from his semi-detached home on Broom Grove, Moorgate, Rotherham.
Thousands of forged documents were discovered in the property, described in court as the ‘engine room’ of the operation.
Sentencing, Judge Rosalind Coe QC told Hussain: “You were the organiser of the operation and made some sort of financial gain. The likelihood is considerable sums were charged for thousands of people wanting to live in the UK.
“Participating in sham marriages is a very serious matter - an abuse of the marriage ceremony itself and an abuse of the immigration system.
“The operation was large-scale and very sophisticated.”
For more see The Star on Saturday, January 19.