UK: Slovakian woman ‘on the run’ after sham same-sex marriage conviction
A Slovakian woman has reportedly gone on the run, after failing to attend her own sentencing for involvement in a sham same-sex wedding scam.
Marianna Bartkova, of West Bromwich, was convicted on Friday in her absence of conspiring to evade immigration law alongside 40-year-old Ramon Suru.
The court heard that Suru, a divorced father of two, had intended to enter into a sham civil partnership with a 36-year-old Indian man, Gurmail Joshan, who was in the UK illegally.
Bartkova and Suru had planned the civil partnership to take place in Gretna Green Register Office in June last year – but the ceremony was stopped by immigration officials.
According to the Express & Star, Suru had details of the man he was meant to marry written on a piece of paper, while Bartkova had £1000 in cash and Joshan’s credit card.
Suru has been jailed for 15 months over the scam, while Bartkova was sentenced to a year in her absence.
Joshan has already been removed from the country by immigration officials.
Inspector Andy Carter from Home Office West Midlands Criminal Investigations said: “Tackling sham marriages and sham civil partnerships is a Home Office priority and we are taking tough action to crack down on those who try to cheat our immigration system.
“The people convicted thought they could profit from abusing the civil partnership system and the UK’s immigration laws, either to stay in the country or gain financially. They were wrong.
“The sentences send a clear message to anyone involved in this sort of criminality. We have dedicated, specialist investigation teams who will catch up with you and you will face a heavy penalty.”
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