Montreal

Immigration consultant accused of marriage scam

The Mounties say an immigration consultant concocted a fake marriage scheme that helped newcomers bend the rules to get into Canada.

The Mounties say an immigration consultant concocted a fake marriage scheme that helped newcomers bend the rules to get into Canada.

Richard Yalaoui, a 46-year-old Montreal-based consultant who also worked in Algeria and Morocco, was charged Tuesday with helping an unknown number of newcomers circumvent immigration rules.

The arrests come as Ottawa proposes new legislation aimed at thwarting crooked immigration consultants. Yalaoui, who is an accredited consultant, is charged with conspiracy and organizing feigned marriages.

The investigation is an offshoot of a much larger investigation into a ring that police began dismantling last November. It was described as a massive counterfeiting ring that specialized in high-quality forged ID.

Six others alleged to be in on the scam were charged alongside Yalaoui.

"He was telling people how to come to Canada while getting around the laws," said RCMP spokesman Luc Thibault. "He was acting as a consultant not just in Montreal, but overseas also."

Police aren't sure what would happen to people who entered the country with false documents. The Canada Border Services Agency did not return a call seeking comment.

"Maybe they thought they were [legitimate marriages], but they were done with false documents and people were paying him to have the documents made," Thibault said.

The case returns to court on Aug. 3.

Police couldn't say how many people might have entered the country thanks to paper marriages, but added that there would need to be follow-up investigations by other bodies such as the CBSA and Passport Canada.

Thibault said the arrests were the final stage of an investigation into a large, organized group of scammers who specialized in forged documents, including Canadian passports.

Thibault said the investigation, which raised concerns in November of possible national-security implications, turned up no such threats.

Clandestine counterfeiting labs were allegedly located in daycares. The forgeries were top-notch, police said at the time.

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