A SUSSEX woman who arranged a sham marriage with her gay hairdresser to boost her chances of staying in the country illegally has been jailed for 18 months.
Vera Jadoonanan, 39, of Commercial Road, offered her English hairdresser £10,000 to go ahead with the arrangement.
At the time Jadoonanan, originally from Trinidad and Tobago, had been granted a two-year student visa to study in the UK but wanted to secure indefinite leave to remain in the country.
The hairdresser agreed to the proposal due to financial circumstances and the pair married at Brighton Register office in August 2006. He was paid £4,500 at this stage.
Jadoonanan made further applications to the Home Office as the spouse of a British national, pressuring her husband into supporting them.
In October 2010 Jadoonanan threatened him and told him that if he did not support the application she would make allegations to the police that he had assaulted her, telling him friends would back her up.
He was intimidated by these threats and went to police.
The investigation revealed that the hairdresser was a gay man who had been living with his partner for 10 years.
He had never lived at the address Jadoonanan claimed they shared as husband and wife.
Jadoonanan was convicted at Lewes Crown Court on November 17, following a three-day trial, and was sentenced at the same court this week.
She was charged with one count of Obtaining Leave to Remain in the UK by Deception.
Phil Graysmark, who led the UK Border Agency’s Sussex Criminal and Financial Investigation team investigation, said, “Jadoonanan resorted to threatening her hairdresser into supporting her illegal bid to stay in the UK.
“This case shows the desperate nature of immigration crime with large sums of money changing hands and people being prepared to enter into a full marriage with someone they barely know simply to cheat the immigration system.
“The UK Border Agency will not tolerate immigration abuse, and we are cracking down on sham marriages all over the country.
“As the sentence handed out shows, those who seek to cheat immigration laws face heavy penalties.”
The Sussex Criminal and Financial Investigation team is a specialist unit of seconded police officers from Sussex Police which is working alongside warranted UK Border Agency officers to investigate organised immigration crime.
Anyone who has information about suspicious marriages or other forms of immigration abuse should contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/.