Justice has caught up with a sham marriage fixer who went on the run for six years after being convicted in his absence.
Wahidul Islam, a 48-year-old Bangladeshi man, organised a bogus wedding in 2012 in a bid to cheat UK immigration rules.
At Laganside Crown Court, on Wednesday, February 14, he was sentenced to two years in jail and two years on licence. He will be deported after serving his time in jail.
Islam was originally convicted in his absence at Antrim Crown Court in June 2013 having absconded from court bail while awaiting sentence on charges relating to an attempted sham marriage at Larne Registrar Office, which involved a Portuguese bride and a Bangladeshi national. These individuals were subsequently charged and convicted.
Following his conviction, Islam went on the run outside the court’s jurisdiction. Immigration Enforcement officers carrying out an illegal working operation on November 30 last year discovered him working as a chef at Little Mumbai, Main Street, Ballynahinch. He was arrested and referred to the PSNI, which led the sham marriage investigation, to be returned to court for sentencing.
Mike Golden, from Immigration Enforcement in Northern Ireland, said: “This man thought he could abuse the immigration rules and evade justice. Even though these offences happened several years ago and Islam had the temerity to return to the UK to work illegally, this case shows that Immigration Enforcement and its law enforcement partners regularly work together to ensure those who commit crimes do not escape justice.
“I urge anyone with specific and detailed information about suspected immigration abuse to get in touch.”
People with information about suspected immigration abuse can contact https://www.gov.uk/report-immigration-crime or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Information to help employers carry out checks to prevent illegal working can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/employers-illegal-working-penalties