A divorce in BC raised red flags for a judge who had suspicions that the marriage could have been a sham.
In a recent family law matter in the Supreme Court of BC, Justice Ward Brand said it was “extremely challenging” for them to get to the facts and voiced concerns that the couple’s “marital and financial relationship was designed, in whole or in part, to mislead Canadian immigration authorities and/or Chinese currency regulators.”
According to the decision, Rongren He and Ying Zi (Anna) Shen were together for just two years, and their marriage was full of red flags.
The judge suspected that the marriage was more like a “commercial arrangement” that would provide He with immigration status and Shen with financial benefits. Here are some of the red flags the judge pointed out in the decision:
Red flag #1: meeting via an immigration consultant
The couple was introduced to each other by an immigration consultant, a fact that heightened the judge’s suspicions about the nature of their relationship.
Red flag #2: claiming to be “penniless”
He claimed that he was “penniless” when he arrived in Canada, but that “may have been a charade,” according to the judge. According to the case, his ex-wife purportedly lent him $600,000 just two weeks after their divorce and didn’t ask for the money back.
Then, there were a number of unusual deposits into his bank account, including a $100,000 money order, a deposit of nearly $50,000, and four deposits totalling $178,100 – all of which were “gifts from friends.”
According to the judge, “there was not a single indication of genuine affection between the parties either before, during, or after their relationship.” Still, they are now officially divorced as of August 31.
Red flag #3: arguing over jewellery
He alleged that when the couple separated, Shen took more than $80,000 worth of jewellery. Shen claimed she only took one ring, but the rest of the jewellery was given to her as gifts outright, and downplayed all of its value.
In a text exchange, He wrote that “I’ve given you all the money I brought from China. You took the diamond ring, gold sea pearl necklace, jadeite and cat’s-eye etc.” Shen replied, “You are a [complete] psychopath, category paranoid. The jewellery pieces are my wedding gifts from you. Are you trying to get them back?”
This irked the judge because, at trial, He denied having material assets in China, but in this text, he says he gave her all the money he brought from China, which created a credibility problem.
What do you think? Was this true love or a marriage of convenience?