Two jailed in sham marriages scam

Two people have been jailed and two more sentenced for their roles in sham marriages used to gain UK citizenship.

In 2017 Essex Police received information about Ibrahim Ojikutu, of Campus Avenue, Dagenham, regarding a separate criminal matter and executed warrants for his arrest.

Before the start of the investigation, it appeared Ojikutu had arrived in the UK as an international student in December 2009, and later married Kady Cain in May 2012. They divorced in October 2016.

Separately, Mutiat Titilope Bello had also come to the UK in January 2010 as an international student and married Selvin Daniel Woodbridge in October 2011. The pair divorced in September 2017.

Police discovered that all four were known to each other. Ojikutu and Bello already had children together throughout this period, and they had used their relationships in the UK to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the country.

Shortly after their applications were approved, they applied for their divorces.

Police also found messages between Woodbridge and Cain showing they were previously in a relationship, also had a child together, and the marriages were for financial gain.

Forensic analysis of evidence and work by the Cyber Crime Unit also revealed Ojikutu used Woodbridge’s identity to form a UK company and open bank accounts without Woodbridge’s knowledge.

On September 7 2017, Woodbridge and Bello were arrested and interviewed. Ojikutu was interviewed voluntarily in the following days. On February 13 2019, Cain was also voluntarily interviewed.

In 2020 Ojikutu, 41, was charged with two counts of conspiring to do an act to facilitate the commission of a breach of UK immigration by a non-EU person; and six counts of fraud by false representation.

Mutiat Titilope Bello, 38, of Campus Avenue, Dagenham, and Selvin Daniel Woodbridge, 42, of High Street, W3, were charged with two counts of conspiring to do an act to facilitate the commission of a breach of UK immigration by a non-EU person.

Kady Cain, 36, of Thorndean Road, Brighton, was charged with one count conspiring to do an act to facilitate the commission of a breach of UK immigration by a non-EU person.

All four pleaded not guilty to all the charges against them, but were found guilty on all these counts on May 12 2023 at Chelmsford Crown Court.

On June 30, Ojikutu was sentenced to four years in prison and Woodbridge was sentenced to two years and three months in prison. Bello received a two-year sentence suspended for two years with 150 hours community service, and Cain received an 18-month sentence suspended for two years with 40 days rehabilitation.

DCI Justin Beacher, said: “These sham marriages and fraudulent accounts were a complex web our officers have unpicked after years of hard work.

“Ojikutu in particular saw no issue using his skills for illegal purposes – the judge described him as impressive and charming, but devious, manipulative and a waste of talent.”

Advertisement

Mick Ferris

Editor Email: mickferris@yellowad.co.uk