Sister married real brother to get UK citizenship

March 22, 2012 1:26 pm0 commentsViews: 28

LONDON: A Pakistani family who systematically abused the UK immigration system, including marrying a sister to her brother, while fraudulently claiming thousands in benefits has been sentenced.


In a complex deception Bagh Ali, 82, fraudulently used the identities of his own son and daughter to enable the then teenage children of his new wife to settle in the UK. By switching identities Iram Shazadi and Usman Ali Khan were able to join their mother, Rehana Awan, in the UK and take up British citizenship. The plot took a further twist when Shazadi took part in a sham marriage to her own brother, Rizwan Khan to allow him also to take up UK citizenship.


Awan, 44, and Ali, who has British citizenship, were married in Pakistan in 1995. Following the marriage she tried without success to obtain UK citizenship before finally arriving in the UK as a visitor in 2001. The plot started in 2003, when they were living in Shalimar Street in Halifax. The couple, who have six children together, were divorced in January 2005.


The UK Border Agency Criminal and Financial Investigation Team found evidence that Shazadi, now aged 22, and Usman Ali Khan, now 23, had taken up the false identities. Leeds Crown Court heard how the team also uncovered the false marriage between Shazadi and Rizwan Khan, now 25, which took place in July 2006 in Jhelum, Pakistan.


The investigation showed that Awan had fraudulently claimed £17,500 in child tax credits and child benefit payments. Shazadi used her false identity to obtain a mortgage to purchase a house in Halton Moor Avenue, Leeds. Rizwan Khan used his illegally gained status to fraudulently claim job seeker’s allowance.


Steve Lamb, Acting Regional Director for the UK Border Agency, said: “This family has systematically committed immigration and benefit fraud. They have also shown a complete disregard for the marriage system. These are serious offences, as the sentences handed out today reflect. Immigration crime is not victimless. It defrauds the public purse out of huge sums of money at a time when the country can least afford it.”


Awan, Usman Ali Khan and Shazadi were all arrested in September 2010. Rizwan Khan was arrested in November of the same year at Dover, as he attempted to leave the country using a false identity. Bagh Ali was arrested in May last year.


Ali has been given a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years; Awan was given a ten month sentence suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 200 hours’ unpaid work; Usman Ali Khan was given a ten month sentence; Rizwan Khan was jailed for 15 months; and Shazadi was given a 12 month sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 200 hours’ unpaid work.