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Two East Lancashire 'grooms' jailed over sham marriages
THESE pictures show what should have been these couples’ big day – except the weddings were a sham.
Amanda Nolan, Jason Procter, and Kevin Donnelly all entered into sham marriages with Vietnamese nationals for cash, Preston Crown Court heard.
Yesterday, Judge Michael Byrne sentenced Procter, 40, of Princes Street, Blackburn, and Donnelly, 34, of Thwaites Road, Oswaldtwistle, to 10 months in prison for committing an act of deception to facilitate non-EU nationals to remain in the UK.
Nolan, 28, of Windsor Road, Blackburn, who was convicted of the same offence, was sentenced to 44 weeks in prison, suspended for two years.
Wedding day witnesses Denny Wallace, 22, of Preston New Road, Blackburn, and Gemma Nelson, 28, of Whalley New Road, Blackburn, were both given 36 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, after admitting the same offence.
The gang took part in the wedding ceremonies, with some exchanging rings, and holding wedding breakfasts.
They took pictures of the ceremonies, and presented them to the Home Office as proof of their relationships.
All the weddings took place between October 2008 and Oct-ober 2010.
Police became aware of the scam after receiving a tip-off the day after Nolan’s £1,500 wedding at Whitehall Country Club, Darwen.
The court was told Nolan, who dressed in white, treated the wedding reception as a ‘joke’, despite being paid £4,000.
The very next day she booked a holiday to Mexico with a different man to the one she had married.
They fell out on the holiday and he returned and told police about her sham marriage, the court heard.
All five defendants were said to have become involved in the scam after meeting the ringleader Trang Thi Thuy Luu, known as ‘Louise’, at Miss Nails beauty salons, which has branches in Blackburn, Chorleys and Preston.
DS Julie Cross, who led the investigation, said: “They were paid large sums of money to enter into marriages of convenience, which were a complete sham.
“They spent a lot of time and money to deceive the authorities, creating the impression that they were genuine marriages.
“This has been a long, and complex, investigation and I am satisfied with the result. We have worked closely with the Home Office and Blackburn with Darwen Register Office in order to bring this gang to justice and I hope the case acts as a warning to those who abuse immigration rules to help people to illegally remain in the UK.”
Police are still looking for the Vietnamese people involved.
Inquiries are ongoing to trace 24-year-old Tuan Hoang Luu; Trang Thi Thuy Luu, 24; 23-year-old Thi Le Quyen Le, and Dat Van Vu, 23.
Anyone with information about their whereabouts should call police on 101.