1. ITV Report

Eight sentenced after Gretna sham marriage scam

Two couples swapped partners for the scam. Photo: Police

Eight people have been sentenced today after a sham marriage scam which was foiled thanks to arrests made at the registration office in Gretna.

The scam involved two former couples who swapped partners for the day to take part in separate sham marriages.

Michal Mankos and Katerina Gerychova agreed to help Pakistani couple Muhammad Hanif and Huma Aslam gain long-term residency in the UK.

Michal Mankos and Katerina Gerychova Credit: Police
Muhammad Hanif and Huma Aslam.

They attempted to get married to each other's partners, travelling to separate register offices, in Gretna and Newcastle.

The authorities managed to arrest all four people before the marriages took place.

These CCTV pictures show Katerina Gerychova and Muhammad Hanif at the registration office in Gretna.

The registration office in Gretna. Credit: CCTV

The couples had been introduced by sham marriage fixers Waseem Shah and Ivan Holub, who told them they could help bypass immigration laws.

Today (19 June) at Newcastle Crown Court, the couples and fixers were sentenced, along with co-conspirators Vladislava Mankosova and Simon Poliak.

All eight defendants had pleaded guilty to conspiring to facilitate a breach of immigration law at earlier hearings.

The full list of those sentenced:

  • Huma Aslam, 26, Stanley Road, Cheadle, Manchester – Two years
  • Michal Mankos, 24, Bamburgh Terrace, Byker, Newcastle – Thirty months
  • Katerina Gerychova, 24, Westbourne Avenue, Gateshead – Twenty months, suspended
  • Muhammad Umer Hanif, 23, Hampstead Road, Newcastle – Eighteen months
  • Waseem Abbas Shah, 30, Derby Court, Newcastle – Three years nine months
  • Vladislava Mankosova, 42, Fosse Terrace, Gateshead – Fifteen months, suspended
  • Simon Poliak, 19, Fosse Terrace, Gateshead – Thirteen months, suspended
  • Ivan Holub, 24, Ripon Street, Gateshead – Thirty three months

This was a brazen attempt to trample over the marriage and immigration laws. Hanif and Aslam and Mankos and Gerychova were in genuine relationships together, but thought nothing of fraudulently marrying people who were essentially complete strangers.

Foreign nationals who believe a sham wedding is their route to staying in the UK should think again. Our specialist investigators work very closely with registrars to identify suspicious marriages, and we will not hesitate to act where we believe a relationship is not genuine.

Whether you are a participant or an organiser, you will face the consequences.”

– Home Office investigator Craig Hobbs, from Immigration Enforcement Criminal Investigations