Lancashire sham marriages: Manchester gang jailed

Muhammad 'Jimmy' Amir and Diana Fernandes Moreira-Miguel Image copyright Home Office
Image caption Muhammad 'Jimmy' Amir and Diana Fernandes Moreira-Miguel were key players, said the Home Office

A Manchester gang which set up sham weddings between Pakistani grooms and Portuguese brides has been jailed.

The marriages took place at Blackburn and Darwen Register Office between January and June of last year, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Muhammad 'Jimmy' Amir, 31, a Pakistani national, and Diana Fernandes Moreira-Miguel, 22, were "key players" in setting up the bogus weddings.

Amir was jailed for four years while Moreira-Miguel was given 15 months.

Amir and Moreira-Miguel, of no fixed abode, had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to facilitate a breach of UK immigration law by a non-EU person.

'Cheat the system'

Four of the gang's "grooms", all Pakistani nationals, also pleaded guilty to the same charge.

Muhammed Zeeshan Shafqat, 21, and Mudassar Ali, 24, also of Hornbeam Road, Manchester, were jailed for a year.

Mobeen Ashraf, 26, of Rawcliffe Street, Manchester, was jailed for one year as was Muhammed Asrar, 25, of Kippax Street, Manchester.

The Home Office said all the Portuguese "brides" have returned to their home country.

Dave Magrath, from Home Office criminal investigations said: "The gang clearly thought they could profit from abusing the marriage system and the UK's immigration laws.

"These individuals were prepared to marry people they barely knew in an attempt to cheat the immigration system.

He said immigration was not "a victimless crime".

"It exploits some of society's most vulnerable people, and the gangs involved often have links to serious organised crime."

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