STANSTED AIRPORT: Four people jailed over sham marriage scam

FOUR people have been jailed for more than six years for their part in a sham marriage scam involving Nigerian and Dutch nationals.

The UK Border Agency investigation, working with Essex Police and other forces, was triggered when officers identified the suspicious travel patterns of passengers flying in and out of Luton and Stansted Airports on tickets purchased by Adeolu Eletu, a 29-year-old Nigerian.

On February 10, officers from the UK Border Agency’s Immigration Crime Team (East), arrested Daniloush Solano, a 21-year-old Dutch woman, at Luton Airport as she attempted to board a flight to Amsterdam.

Investigations revealed that earlier that day Solano had married Eletu at a church in Wood Green, London. She was paid 1,500 euros for her role.

Eletu was subsequently arrested on February 27 at his home address in Falcon Brae, Livingston. His Nigerian girlfriend Helen Omoboye, 33, was also arrested. She had been due to participate in a sham marriage of her own at the same Wood Green venue on February 11.

Sylvernus Ogungbade, a 36-year-old Nigerian, was also arrested on February 10 after officers established that Solano had caught her taxi to Luton Airport from his home in Goldbeater’s Grove, Edgware. Immigration checks revealed that Ogungbade, who was living alone, had recently applied for a visa on the back of his marriage to a Dutch woman who is still wanted by the UK Border Agency.

On July 1, at Luton Crown Court, Eletu, Ogungbade and Omoboye pleaded guilty to conspiring to breach the UK’s immigration laws. Eletu and Omoboye also pleaded guilty to perjury charges.

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Eletu was sentenced to two years and eight months, Omoboye was sentenced to 18 months and Ogungbade was sentenced to a year and eight months. Solano had pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to breach the UK’s immigration laws and perjury at an earlier hearing on June 10. She was sentenced to 12 months.

Ds Andy Harvey, of Essex Police, said: “We started profiling passengers coming into Stansted Airport who only stayed in the country for 24 hours.

“This included young women coming in from Holland who when stopped and searched were found to be in possession of large sums of money. his was seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) and through further enquiries and good police and partnership work with the UKBA, arrests were made in London and the Home Counties.

“We hope that these prison sentences will send a strong message to anyone else considering attempting to commit crime through Stansted Airport.”