! Murcia Today – Uncovered Residence Marriage Scam in Alicante and Murcia

Publication date: 05/19/2022

129 people have been arrested on the Costa Blanca for their role in the ‘ingenious’ marriage of convenience scam

The national police have dismantled an “ingenious” criminal network dedicated to creating fake marriages of convenience so that non-EU citizens, mainly from Morocco and Algeria, can obtain residency in Spain. The network was led by a lawyer from Elche and had been operating successfully since 2017 in Alicante and Murcia.

The investigation, dubbed PolaSanta, lasted three years and resulted in the arrest of 129 people, 66 men and 63 women, of various nationalities, aged 23 to 71.

According to the agents, the scam worked by selecting a Spaniard to marry the non-national, thus providing the migrant with a residence permit, for which he paid around 10,000 euros. These marriages of convenience were almost exclusively celebrated in Santa Pola.

Elche lawyer allegedly ‘meticulously’ instructed contracting parties on how to conduct persuasive marriage interviews, helped foreign nationals illegally register on ‘padron‘ of their town and even created fake lease agreements for the houses the couples allegedly shared. During the investigation, two estate agencies in Alicante were also implicated in the scam.

The scheme went even further, however, as the lawyer had to concoct an elaborate network of “false witnesses” who could attest to the legitimacy of the married couple.

The detainees are now charged with crimes against the rights of foreign citizens, false documents, false testimony and membership in a criminal group.

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