A SUSPECTED marriage of convenience network in Barcelona, accused of arranging 35 such unions, netting gang members approximately €100,000 in profits, has been dismantled by national police.
Gang members are alleged to have requested €4,000 to make the arrangements and it is claimed that over the last four years they made roughly €100,000 out of the illegal venture.
Police arrested 27 individuals belonging to the group, among them the alleged head of the gang, a Brazilian, as well as three other leaders of the organisation.
Playing on the fears of immigrants who were undocumented, they are believed to have arranged marriages to Spanish citizens for them, charging the foreign spouses €4,000 and paying the Spanish partner €1,000 and then used false documents to apply for Spanish residency for the immigrants. However, the couples did not actually need to marry in order to apply, since Spain accepts de facto couples who live together as being eligible for residency.
Police discovered the scam when they noticed that a woman from Sabadell who was on the town hall register had previous convictions for arranging marriages of convenience and that there were also another 20 individuals registered as de facto couples at the same 25-metre squared apartment.
Altogether agents found 60 individuals registered at three apartments in the city, with 21 fraudulent couples amongst them.