Vicar jailed for sham marriages in the UK
United Kingdom, 4th April: A vicar has been jailed for a period of four and a half years for carrying out fake immigration marriages for undocumented immigrants.
According to reports, 56-year-old Church of England vicar was found guilty of presiding over 250 fake marriages in what is being regarded as one of the biggest immigration scams in London.
Sham marriages for financial gains--Brian Shipsides had conducted sham marriages of immigrants for monetary benefits. The prosecution stated that Shipsides pocketed nearly £30,000 ($US48,000) for holding meticulously planned marriages between undocumented immigrants at the All Saints Church in east London.
It was nothing short of a conspiracy for breaching UK immigration rules by arranging fake marriages, the judge Peter Grobel blamed. Hence, the role of Shipsides in this conspiracy is a disgraceful misuse of being a minister of the church, he further claimed.
Each couple was asked by the church to pay £140 for this undocumented service. Many times, undocumented immigrants were flown in merely for the marriage ceremony. And the UK vicar pocketed a total of £30,000 in fees that must have been the property of the diocese.
Vicar pleads guilty to conspiracy—Shipsides admitted his involvement in arranging sham weddings between December 2007 and August 2010 involving foreigners leading to abuse of UK immigration rules. 32-year-old Amudalat Ladipo, herself an undocumented immigrant, played the role of ‘marriage fixer’ and also helped in arranging flights for foreigners to take part in wedding ceremonies.
Moreover, she also appeared as a bride in certain fake marriage ceremonies held at the church. Ladipo, a Nigerian and a mother of two kids, has been sentenced to a period of three years for her role in the UK marriage fraud. In addition, she will serve another 18-month prison for having a fake ID (identity) document.
Shipsides has already been issued suspension orders by Church of England and will be facing a hearing with the likelihood of an expulsion from the UK church.
The fake marriages involved European Union citizens and Nigerians for providing them a route to stay in the UK. All these sham marriages were held in a period of two-and-a-half years duration, the Inner London Crown Court, the judge revealed.