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Parson in weddings scam is spared jail

A "parsimonious" parson who made a fortune conducting a string of sham marriages, narrowly escaped jail yesterday.

For three years, Nigerian-born Adeolu Magbagbeola was at the heart of an immigration racket that allowed scores of Indian nationals to remain in Britain.

The 60-year-old head of the Celestial Church of Christ in North London, who was paid £1,000 a time, admitted he even married off the same bride twice in one day.
After each set of nuptials he posed for wedding photographs with the supposedly "happy couple". The pictures, together with bogus documents, were then sent to the Home Office.

After admitting conspiracy to defraud, Magbagbeola was told by Recorder Richard Atchley: "You are a very
parsimonious parson –
in gross breach of trust to your church, your congregation and the immigration authorities of this country – who has used that position for selfish and personal gain.

However, the Recorder was told Magbagbeola needed dialysis three times a day and could die after five years.
He said he would suspend the two-year jail sentence he deserved for 24 months.
Magbagbeola was ordered to pay £20,000 costs.

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