25 October 2010
Bogus wedding for UK Visa exposed when groom forgets bride’s name
A bogus wedding was exposed in Nottingham Register Office when the groom was unable to remember the bride's name.
Trinidadian bride Falana McKenzie, 30, paid Portuguese national Jorge Mouchinho, 33, £2,000 to marry her so she could stay in the UK, but staff at Nottingham Register Office became suspicious of the pair when the couple appeared nervous at a meeting prior to the wedding.
At the meeting they had difficulty communicating with each other without an interpreter and Mouchinho was unable to give his prospective bride's name.
The wedding ceremony, in August, was interrupted by the UK Border Agency and later searches of McKenzie’s home found photos of her with a boyfriend who was not Mouchinho.
McKenzie had previously been in the UK legitimately on both student and working visas, but her most recent UK Visa expired in April this year.
McKenzie pleaded guilty at Nottingham Magistrates' Court to entering the UK without leave, while Mouchinho pleaded guilty at the same court to assisting unlawful immigration into the EU state.
Both were given 12-month custodial sentences, which they will serve half minus the time they have already spent in custody.
Since July, there have been 53 sham marriage operations by the UK Border Agency nationally resulting in 126 arrests, including brides, grooms and other members of the bogus wedding parties.