Former Chronicle journalist Clemence Marijeni has been jailed for 17 years in the United Kingdom for what the Wolverhampton Express and Star said was one of the West Midlands’ largest sham marriage scams and a £720 000 maternity allowance fraud.
Marijeni produced fake documents for the money-spinning rackets, which ran simultaneously for almost four years, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.
The 44-year-old former sports journalist completed a law degree at Wolverhampton University after coming to the UK in 2006 and claimed to earn £30 000-a-year from his role in a shipping business.
Marijeni who was a graphics expert, however, pocketed more cash by selling forged paperwork to others involved in the two frauds while using eight bank accounts under false names to collect at least £55 000 from bogus maternity allowance claims for himself.
He and his wife, Poula Chikuhwa, who was also part of the swindle – were building a mansion in Zimbabwe.
The 12-member gang made at least 165 fake maternity applications between May 2011 and August 2015, pocketing £450 000 but would have collected £720 000 if a considerable number had not been spotted as phony by Department of Work and Pensions officials and rejected.