14 May 2015 11:26 AM AEST: A pair that ran an elaborate visa marriage scam in Queensland has been committed to stand trial by the Brisbane Magistrates Court. Indian-born Chetan Mohanlal Mashru and Divya Krishne Gowda, both in their mid thirties, have been accused of organising sham marriages for dozens of Indian men and at least one woman.
According to AAP, former migration agent Mr Mashru and marriage celebrant Ms Gowda are accused of attempting to marry 15 Indian men and one woman to Australians who accepted money to marry people they had never met before.
Their operations were run from an address at Oxley in Brisbane’s southwest between 2010 and 2011, reports suggest. They targeted desperate men seeking Australian spousal visas to whom they supplied Australian brides who were paid anywhere from $1000 to $30,000, the Brisbane Court heard over the last four days.
They were first arrested in February 2014 after their alleged illicit operations were uncovered by a journalist but Brisbane Magistrate John McGrath had granted bail to the pair under a set of strict conditions – report to a police station three times a week, do not come within 300 metres of an international departure point and also do not contact the prosecution witnesses.
The pair’s alleged offences against the Migration Act carry a jail term of 10 years and a fine of up to $100,000.
“None of the brides or grooms is being prosecuted, with some offered indemnity to provide a statement,” AAP said in the report. Dozens of Indian men and Australian women testified during the hearing.