A MAN and a woman have appeared in a Huddersfield court over sham marriages.
The pair have been accused of duping would-be grooms out of thousands of pounds worth of cash.
Sidra Fatima, 32, and Raja Haider Ali, 43, were before Huddersfield Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
The pair each face 12 charges of fraud by false representation, including marriage, mortgage and insurance fraud.
The pair are alleged to have targeted seven males via a marriage website and tricked them into entering what transpired to be a sham wedding.
As part of the scam, the victims allegedly lost thousands of pounds for giving cash for goods and services for the ‘wedding’ that was never actually purchased.
The pair are alleged to have worked together to convince the man that pretty Fatima was available and willing to take part in engagement and marriage proceedings.
Then when they received the money they are alleged to have broken off the engagements.
The amount allegedly paid by the men, who live all over the country, ranged from £4,627 to £8,634.
The scams allegedly took place between May 2009 and February last year.
Fatima, pictured, of Darnley Street in Dewsbury and Ali, of Springbank Road, near Leeds Road in Huddersfield, spoke only to confirm their personal details during the brief hearing before the District Judge.
They face further charges of mortgage fraud.
They are alleged to have made a false representation to Kensington Mortgages regarding the nature of Fatima’s employment in order to obtain a mortgage advance of £171,000 on a property at Coppice Drive, Netherton.
Ali also allegedly claimed that he was the registered proprietor of the property and entitled to sell it, and so intended to steal £36,000 from Carlton Samuels.
The couple are also alleged to have made false claims that burglaries had occurred at the address on two dates.
In April 2007 they allegedly claimed that there had been a burglary at the Netherton property, stealing £42,811 from Liverpool Victoria Insurance.
Then in May 2008 they are alleged to have claimed there had been a break-in again, this time in an attempt to con the insurers out of £82,800.
Judge Marie Mallon said that the case will eventually be committed to crown court.
Ali and Fatima will next appear at the magistrates’ court on February 3.
They were granted unconditional bail.