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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Till police us do part: Bogus bride arrested in her wedding dress after being paid £400 to marry complete stranger

-'Groom' wanted to marry so he could stay in Britain

By Daily Mail Reporter

Blushing bride: Elizabeth Balogh being taken away by an official after being arrested at her sham wedding ceremony

A bogus bride was arrested in her wedding dress seconds before she was about to tie the knot to a complete stranger for just £400.

Elizabeth Balogh, 33, was taken away in handcuffs with her fake bridegroom when police officers and border agency officials raided a register officer where the sham wedding was taking place.

Balogh was jailed today after a court heard she had been paid £400 to marry Pakistani-born Asif Hussain, 25, to allow him to stay in Britain after his visa ran out.

Not so happy couple: Balogh was paid just £400 to marry Asif Hussain so that he could remain in Britain

The pair were arrested after Border Agency officials had been tipped off the wedding was a fake - by the registrar who was about to marry them.

Prosecutor Hywel Hughes told Cardiff Crown Court that the official at Cardiff register office was suspicious because Hussain did not speak English.

He said: 'It was apparent to the registrar that there was very little verbal communication between the bride and groom.

'It struck the registrar as very odd that they wanted to get married as quickly as possible and the wedding was booked for three weeks later.'

The court heard that Hungarian-born Balogh initially told police she did want to marry Hussain, and said: 'It was love at first sight.'

But the pair eventually admitted it was a sham.

Balogh's cousin Valerie Farkas also became involved in the bogus wedding by working as an interpreter for the pair.

Mr Hughes said: 'These three set out and entered into what was a sham marriage.

'Balogh and Hussain were due to marry and Farkas was to play the role of interpreter.'

The court heard Hussain, whose student visa had run out, had paid £800 to a third party to arrange the wedding and gave £400 to Balogh.

But all three later admitted conspiracy to facilitate a breach of immigration law.

Judge Neil Bidder QC jailed Hussain, of Cardiff, for 12 months, Balogh for 10 months and Farkas for six months.

Both Balogh and Farkas had addresses in Manchester.

He said: 'The registrar became suspicious that this was a fraud and a scam - although it didn't require her to be very perceptive as Balogh and Hussain were unable to communicate with each other.

'They didn't share a common language and Farkas was needed to interpret.

'Not one of you realised how transparent a sham this was.

'You all told police a pack of lies and Balogh telling them it was love at first sight was an outrageous lie.'

Chris Lovejoy, from the UK Border Agency's immigration crime team, said: 'Asif Hussain saw this sham marriage as a shortcut to a life in the UK.

'Instead, he has earned himself a significant spell behind bars.

'This case shows how people are prepared to enter into a marriage with someone they barely know to help them cheat the immigration system in exchange for cash.

'The UK Border Agency is cracking down on sham marriages and those who seek to cheat immigration laws face jail.'



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