Woman fined for part in marriage scam

A WOMAN whose nephew travelled to Ipswich to wed a Portuguese woman in a sham marriage is today counting the cost of her part in the affair.Juliene Burke was fined £500 and ordered to pay £1,500 costs after pleading guilty at Ipswich Crown Court to forging a rent book, which suggested her nephew, Justin Ozo Ezeocha was living with her at her home in Levington Road, Ipswich.

A WOMAN whose nephew travelled to Ipswich to wed a Portuguese woman in a sham marriage is today counting the cost of her part in the affair.

Juliene Burke was fined £500 and ordered to pay £1,500 costs after pleading guilty at Ipswich Crown Court to forging a rent book, which suggested her nephew, Justin Ozo Ezeocha was living with her at her home in Levington Road, Ipswich.

The court heard how Nigerian illegal immigrant Ozo Ezeocha, currently serving a 12-month prison sentence for making the false marriage declaration, asked Burke, 42, to enquire about the possibility of marrying Maria Fernanda Da-Conceicao in Ipswich.

Prosecuting, David Gair, told the court the defendant had devised a plan to provide Ozo Ezeocha with evidence he was living in the town after he had found difficulty marrying in London.

He said: "Her whole plan was to facilitate her nephew getting married. He was living in London and she made the rent book to give him something to show at the ceremony."

Mitigating, Mark Wyeth, said Burke had only agreed to make the rent book in order that her nephew could change his address with his bank, as he was living in a multi-occupancy house and was concerned others would read his mail.

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He said: "He told her he needed the book for a bank account. Viewed from the defendant's position, it made sense to change the address.

"She did call the register office and was told he needed to have lived in Ipswich for two weeks if he wanted to marry here. He did stay with her in November 2003 for that amount of time."

The sham marriage was arranged in May of last year, but register office officials became suspicious when the pair did not know basic details about each other. Both had claimed they had been living in Levington Road.

Judge John Devaux agreed Burke, a beautician student at Suffolk College, had created the rent book to aid the pair in their attempt to wed.

He added: "You allowed yourself to fall in with this plan of bogus marriage.

"I don't feel it necessary to sentence you. You are otherwise a woman of good character. I would like to fine you more but at the moment you are not working."

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