A Policia Nacional investigation has brought down an Elche-based group who arranged marriages as a pretence for foreigners to get Spanish residency.

129 people have been arrested since 2019.

The criminal deception was conceived by an Elche lawyer who ran the scheme via her business.

Police said 72 illegal marriages took place, resulting in the issuing of 51 residency permits.

The group started operating in Alicante Province and the Murcia region in 2017.

Potential spouses paid up to €10,000 to get married.

Non-EU foreigners, mainly from Algeria and Morocco, took advantage of the enterprise.

The operation was well-organised with a network of recruiters, intermediaries, and bogus witnesses.

The scam included paying people to use their addresses on fake documents to show authorities that a couple were living together and were in a genuine relationship.

Two Santa Pola real estate agents were also part of the plot to provide bogus leases.

A series of witnesses were fully briefed on providing an extensive cover story to support any prospective marriage.

All of the ‘fixed’ marriages took place in the Santa Pola office of the Justice of the Peace.


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