On Aug. 28, the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism, and the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, made the following statement today after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced that 78 charges have been laid against 39 individuals involved in a marriage fraud ring:
“We wish to commend the RCMP’s Immigration and Passport Section for their successful efforts in bringing charges not only against the alleged mastermind of the operation, Amadou Niang, but also against those individuals who allegedly chose to participate in a marriage fraud scheme designed to circumvent Canada’s immigration laws. These charges underline that the Government of Canada takes immigration fraud very seriously and those involved in these acts will face serious consequences. The problem of marriage fraud is serious and will only get worse if we don’t put measures in place that protect the integrity of our immigration system while deterring people from trying to use a marriage of convenience to cheat their way into Canada.
Over the past 12 months, our Government has introduced a series of measures to fight marriage fraud. Canadians depend on an immigration system that is fair and secure. They don’t want us to allow phony marriages to discredit our entire immigration system. That is why we will protect the integrity of the immigration system and weed out those engaging in this type of fraud.”
The investigation known as “Project Conjugal” began in 2009. Niang, 56, is alleged to be the mastermind of this criminal enterprise. He is believed to have worked with the other suspects to arrange marriages of convenience (defined under Canadas Immigration and Refugee Protection Act as a marriage entered into solely for immigration purposes) between North African men and Montréal women for fiscal gains. It is alleged that 315 such marriages were arranged. Niang, a Canadian citizen, is described as a faulty immigration consultant.
Niang’s next scheduled court appearance is Oct. 23.