Woman sentenced for participating in arranged marriage scheme
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Suzanne Akkari (25) was today sentenced to 18 months imprisonment to be released forthwith on a recognisance of $500 and to be of good behaviour for 18 months, after pleading guilty to a charge of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring another in the arrangement of a marriage to obtain permanent residence, for her part in an arranged marriage scheme.
It was alleged that Ms Akkari was an intermediary in a scheme that paid Australian citizens to marry Indian citizens for the purposes of visa applications being made through marriage sponsorship.
In 2013, it was alleged that the scheme’s principal, Jagjit Singh, contacted Ms Akkari to enlist her services in finding an Australian citizen to marry an Indian participant, Karmjeet Singh.
Ms Akkari contacted a female Australian citizen on social media. She sought her involvement in the scheme, offering payment in return for her agreement to marry Mr Singh and pretend to be his wife while his citizenship application was processed. While the female Australian citizen was not required to live with Mr Singh, she would receive a one off payment of $1,000 when the marriage took place, and $1,000 per month while the marriage was in place.
Ms Akkari would receive $500 for her participation as a witness on the documents they would be signing.
In May 2013, the female Australian citizen met with Karmjeet Singh at the house of a celebrant and signed a Marriage Certificate with Ms Akkari as witness. In June 2014, Ms Akkari contacted the female Australian citizen again to suggest she could recruit others to participate in the false marriage/visa scheme.
In August 2014, the female Australian citizen attended the offices of Australian Border Force where she asserted that the marriage she had entered into was not a genuine relationship and was entered into for the purposes of supporting the visa application of Karmjeet Singh.
Summary of charge:
• One count of aid, abet, counsel or procure arrangement of a marriage to obtain permanent residence, contrary to s240(1) of the Migration Act 1958 and s11.2(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth)
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