A SHAM marriage ‘fixer’ who arranged fake weddings including his own has been jailed for two years and 10 months.
Bolton Crown Court heard Krisztian Kokeny, 35, lined up sham marriages between Hungarian and Pakistani nationals in return for cash. The weddings took place at Blackburn with Darwen Registry Office.
The court heard that Hungarian national Kokeny even arranged his own bogus ‘wedding’ with 28-year-old Rabia Ahmad in February 2013.
Prosecutors said Kokeny acted as a ‘fixer’ for the ‘wedding’ of 27-year-old Pakistani national Shafiq Ahmad and 25-year-old Hungarian Erszebet Habling.
Specialist Home Office immigration enforcement investigators disrupted the ceremony before it began. Ahmad, Habling and Kokeny were arrested for conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration into the UK.
Habling, of Rushey Fold Lane, Bolton, was also charged with possessing a false identity document with intent. She was given a six month suspended prison sentence for this offence in June.
Kokeny, of Holland Street, Bolton, was bailed, but re-arrested on August 15 last year following investigations into his own ‘marriage’ to Ahmad. He then admitted his involvement in the conspiracy.
Following the wedding Ahmad, of Wimslow Road, Manchester, made an application to the Home Office to exercise her treaty rights to obtain European Economic Area status as the spouse of Kokeny.
This was rejected, and she was arrested in October 2013. She told investigators she was aware her visa was about to expire and that she paid Kokeny more than £9,000 to arrange the ‘marriage’. She was given a six month suspended prison sentence in April.
David Magrath, from the Home Office’s immigration enforcement criminal investigations team, said: “These individuals were prepared to marry people they barely knew in an attempt to cheat the immigration system.
“Immigration crime is not victimless. It exploits some of society’s most vulnerable people, and the gangs involved often have links to serious organised crime.”