A married mum-of-four who wed an illegal immigrant in a sham marriage has walked free from court because she helped police track down the suspected ‘marriage broker’.
Alena Kurejova, 35, had wed Nigerian Oladotun Ogundari, 31, in Accrington, in one of several fake weddings in the town.
The ‘groom’, Ogundari, of Bellhouse Road, Sheffield, pleaded guilty to possessing a false passport with intent to deceive, obtaining leave to remain in the UK by deception and making a false statement with reference to marriage.
The new dad, who has a heart complaint, was jailed for 15 months. He had been in this country since 2004 and faces deportation after his sentence.
Kurejova had got involved in the scam because she was desperate for money and said her children had not eaten for three days.
She had given police the details of the alleged broker, who set up the marriage, and police had made an arrest. Kurejova, of Chellow Grange in Bradford, admitted bigamy, assisting unlawful immigration and making a false statement with reference to marriage. She was given 52 weeks in jail, suspended for a year, with 180 hours’ unpaid work.
Judge Beverley Lunt said the defendant’s case was significantly different from the others and added that it took courage to do what Kurejova had done.
She continued: "The brokers are the people at the heart of these cases, who profit from the misery of others. They hide in the background and it’s very difficult to catch them."
Stephen Parker, prosecuting, said in February 2009, both defendants attended St Peter’s vicarage and an affidavit was completed in support of an application for a marriage licence.
Ogundari produced a fake Nigerian passport and documents claiming to show he and Kurejova lived at Blackburn Road, in Accrington.
A licence was granted and the pair married in March.
Ogundari, who did not apply to the Home Office to stay in this country, said it had cost him his life savings of £6,200 to pay for the marriage. He had been provided with a Nigerian passport and the wedding had been arranged.
He told police he didn't want to be deported as his brothers and sister were here and he wanted to be with them.
Kurejova said she had been offered £150 to hand over her passport, she couldn’t remember her groom's name and was given a further £800 on the wedding day.
At the time the marriage had taken place, her real husband had been in Slovakia.
TWENTY people have now been jailed in connection with sham marriages in two Accrington churches. Three people have been handed suspended sentences.