Four sentenced for immigration offences in sham marriage case

09/02/2010

Three men and a woman who admitted to immigration offences and perjury for their part in a sham marriage scam have today been sentenced at Reading Crown Court.

All four defendants pleaded guilty to a number of offences relating to arrangements which allowed Chinese immigrants to stay in the UK illegally at Reading Crown Court in November last year.

Michael Wright, from Swindon, who had admitted to two counts of assisting unlawful entry to the UK and two counts of perjury for marrying Li Fan in a sham marriage in 2008 and arranging for Ligang Qiao to marry his sister, was sentenced to a total of 4 years imprisonment.

Lin Fan, from Reading, who had admitted to perjury and seeking leave to remain in the UK by deception, was sentenced to a total of 18 months imprisonment.

Bing Liu, also from Reading, received 2 years imprisonment for assisting illegal immigration into the UK.  Ligang Qiao, also from Reading, was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment for his admission of perjury.

The case involved payments made to Michael Wright in exchange for marrying a Chinese immigrant so she could stay in the UK permanently.  Wright had also arranged for his sister, who suffered from learning disabilities, to enter into a similar marriage of convenience.

CPS Senior Crown Prosecutor Becky Owen said:, "The sentences today reflect the seriousness of the arrangements orchestrated by Wright and the other defendants. Together they deceived the authorities to enable the Chinese nationals to live in the UK unlawfully.  In Wright's case, his victim was extremely vulnerable and his actions showed a preference for financial gain over her well-being.

"We will continue to work with Thames Valley Police and the UK Border Agency wherever we can to prevent the abuse of our immigration system and to protect the vulnerable members of our society."

The matter is now with the UK Border Agency to take action where appropriate to deport those not entitled to live here.