We receive enquires from people who have paid advisors to assist them and it turns out that the advisor is not OSIC registered or a solicitor.
It’s dreadful the mess some people have ended up in because of poor advice. Today the Home Office have published details of an immigration agent who made thousands of pounds giving creating false visas for unsuspecting clients. If you know of anybody who is acting as an immigration agent without the correct qualificaitions, contact the UK Border Agency on 0800 555 111 – it’s anonymous and hopefully will bring an end to fradulant applications.
A man who tried to submit hundreds of fraudulent visa applications has today been sentenced to 4 years and 9 months in prison, following an investigation by the UK Border Agency.
Indian national Bhavin Shah, 34, of Edgbaston Road in Watford pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to defraud the Home Office, giving immigration advice illegally and money laundering during the first day of his trial at Isleworth crown court.
Operating from his business premises in Trinity House, Wembley and Viglan House, Alperton, Shah charged clients between £3,000 and £5,000 to process their applications for visa extensions, even though he wasn’t a registered immigration advisor or solicitor.
He would then use forged bank statements and qualification certificates to support their applications, often without the knowledge of the applicant. Some of these documents were found on computers seized from his addresses during our raids in November 2011.
Those raids followed information supplied by an undercover newspaper reporter, to whom Shah had boasted about how he could circumvent the system.
Financial investigations showed that Shah had transferred around £300,000 to bank accounts in India.
Paul Tansiri, who led the investigation for the UK Border Agency, said:
‘Shah was a conman who thought he could cheat the system.
‘He also thought he could cheat his clients, many of whom went to him in good faith hoping he could help them.
‘Not only will Shah face deportation after serving his sentence, we have also begun Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings to prevent him from benefiting financially from his crimes.’
Shah was also given a £190,000 confiscation order which he has to pay within 6 months or face an extra 2 years and 9 months on top of the concurrent sentences.
His sentencing followed the conviction of John Masih, 39, of Sutton Lane, Hounslow, who also played a key role in the scam.
Masih, who produced many of the fake bank statements and documents used by Shah, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and illegally providing immigration advice during a separate hearing. He was jailed for 18 months for conspiracy to defraud and 6 months for illegally providing immigration advice, to run concurrently.
Anyone from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who is sentenced to 12 months or more in prison is automatically eligible for deportation on completion of their sentence.
The UK Border Agency’s West London criminal and financial investigation team is a specialist unit of police officers seconded from the Metropolitan Police working alongside warranted UK Border Agency officers to investigate organised immigration crime.