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Immigration law: Woman found guilty of arranging sham weddings for cash

Janet Cathie, from Glasgow, had set up a lucrative business setting up sham weddings for foreign nationals who were desperate to remain in the UK.

She used her friends and family members as 'brides' and 'grooms', enticing them into helping her break immigration laws with the promise of money.

Donna Taylor, a friend of Ms Cathie, was lured into a sham marriage to Ernest Gyapong by a payment of £2,000. The wedding took place at Paisley register office in November 2006.

Miss Taylor said: "I know that it was a terrible thing that I did, but I did it for the money."

Ms Cathie's next bogus wedding was between her own boyfriend, Robert Teeedie, and Charlotte Kramo in Renfrew in January 2007.

Mr Tweedie knew nothing about Miss Kramo's personal details, not even where in Ghana she came from. When asked, he replied "I don't know, Ghana's Ghana."

Another of Ms Cathie's victims was her own daughter Amanda McCourt. Heavily pregnant and in a long-term relationship at the time, Miss McCourt agreed to the sham wedding after her mother promised it would be easy money.

During Ms Cathie's trial, she denied arranging the sham weddings. She admitted to setting up Miss Taylor with Mr Gyapong saying that she hoped to give her friend "a happy life".

Ms Cathie said: "I try to help everyone. I would rather try and help than hinder."

And when questioned about her daughter's claims against her, Ms Cathie claimed that her daughter was a "compulsive liar".

She said: "My own daughter would say it was snowing if it was sunny."

After hearing that Ms Cathie had a criminal background of a drugs conviction and attempting to pervert the course of justice, Sheriff Johanna Johnston QC deferred sentencing for background reports.

Sheriff Johnston said: "You will be remanded due to the seriousness (of the charges) and your background of offending.

"The likely outcome is that I will have to give serious consideration to a custodial sentence."

Related links:
Read more on this story (BBC)
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Find local immigration solicitors throughout the UK (FindLaw)