Chaloey Mousner, an Australian woman, married Siddhartha Sharma, an Indian man, on 13th February 2015. They were married at a small, intimate ceremony at his parents’ home in Blacktown.
The couple got their wedding certificate and also clicked photos at their wedding. They then went to the nearest Commonwealth Bank to open a joint bank account as a newly-wed couple.
However, two months down the line, Chaloey confessed that their marriage was fake. She entered into a contract for AUD 19,500 to allow Siddhartha to continue living in Australia.
Australian investigators said that like Chaloey, 4 more women were targeted by a gang to enter into a sham marriage. It was found that this global syndicate often targeted vulnerable women in need of money.
Investigators said that the syndicate instructed Chaloey and Siddhartha to meet for 3 months for coffee. They were also told to click photos of both of them together. Superintendent Low also said that many couples were also told to go overseas for holiday and take photographs. This will help them convince the authorities that they were a “normal couple”.
Ever since Australia has started investigating this global syndicate, 164 marriage visas have been cancelled.
The Australian High Commission in New Delhi, India has warned people to beware of such scams. Not one of the applicants received a Permanent Residence despite paying a huge sum for it.
Superintendent Low further added that often targeted Australian women who had fallen upon difficult times. A sum of AUD 20,000 to 25,000 could be life-changing for such women, as quoted by Stuff.
4 other women who were targeted by this global syndicate were Nicole Flower, Suzanne Akari, Jordan Evans and her sister Brooke Evans.
Investigators also said that the marriage scam worked like a pyramid scheme. The fake brides were asked to sign up their female friends and family. For each member that signed up, they were paid AUD 500.
Jagjit Singh, an Indian man, has been arrested for being the alleged kingpin of this global syndicate. He has been charged with arranging a fake marriage between Karamjit Singh and Zayna Youssef in 2013. He has also been charged for sham marriages between Gurpreet Kaur and Benjamin Prothero and Mani Karan Singh and April Wheeler in 2014. He was also the mastermind behind Chaloey and Siddhartha’s sham marriage in 2015.
The penalty for arranging fake marriages in Australia is at least 10 years behind bars.
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