Illegal Immigration Fraud Gang Spared Jail in 'Biggest Ever' Visa Scam Case
Group helped 900 illegal immigrants illegally manipulate immigration laws with fake docs
Four members of an illegal immigration fraud gang have escaped jail sentences in court, despite being found guilty of the "biggest ever" visa scam in the UK, according to reports.
During sentencing, the judge allowed the fraudsters to walk free from court on suspended sentences, in a case that has been marked as the largest of its kind in Britain.
The gang was convicted for setting up fake companies and creating and using bogus documents to allow 900 illegal immigrants to remain, illegally, in the UK.
43-year-old Mohammed Jillur Rahman Khan, 47-year-old Shaheda Roxsanna, along with married couple Mazharul Haque, 46, and Maksuda Begum, 45, claimed their clients were employees seeking work permits in the United Kingdom.
All four avoided jail terms during sentencing, despite the scam allowing hundreds of foreign nationals to obtain false documents for visas and illegally enter, and remain in, the country.
Another member of the gang behind the scam fled to Bangladesh, where he reportedly ran for election to become an MP.
Other members of the gang were convicted in the case during trials last year.
Of the four who escaped jail in the recent court hearing, authorities only released an image of one of the gang members; Mohammed Jillur Rahman Khan.
Pictures of the other three defendants who avoided prison have not been released.
According to the Daily Mail, the gang set up 53 companies including Empire Finance, Immigration4u, and Mo's Spice Inn, Southwark Crown Court heard.
The fraudsters created fake payslips for the supposed "workers" and provided false information on around 900 applications for "general and entrepreneur" visas.
The gang also temporarily transferred money into clients' bank accounts to make them appear as well-paid employees and able to register false annual earnings.
One immigrant aided by the gang was working at a fast-food restaurant while claiming that he earned £50,000 a year.
HMRC estimates that millions were laundered through the companies and their clients' bank accounts through between 2008 and 2013.
The gang charged some people on temporary visas, and who wanted to remain in the UK, a minimum of £700 in cash for their fraudulent immigration services.
Had the fraud not been uncovered, the tax loss could have reached £16.6m, the court heard.
Pedophiles who ran a massive grooming gang in the UK raped and abused countless young children. They are now receiving over $1M in taxpayers money to help fight their battle to stay in the UK. https://t.co/JIkVt0ooxg— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) May 31, 2018
Passing sentence Judge Martin Griffith said: "This case was part two of an immigration fraud of industrial scale.
"For many people who come to this country which must be for economic reasons, there is a time-table because there comes a time where you must prove that you have substantial income to stay in the country.
"Unfortunately, the solution for some people is that they go to some services that prove income that just isn't there - they pay through the nose.
"I can tell you all that although my sentence will involve jail, I'm not going to send any of you to prison today."
Khan, of Peckham, south-east London, Haque and Begum, of Dartford, Kent, and Roxsanna, of Edmonton, north London, were all convicted of conspiracy to defraud the Secretary of State and conspiracy to cheat the public revenue.
The gang was all given suspended sentences - Khan received two years; Roxsana, 19 months, Begum, 10 months and Haque, 16 months, all suspended for two years.
Another member of the gang - law student Abul Kalam Muhammad Rezaul Karim, 42 - was given a jail term last year but has also avoided being locked up by going on the run.
Last November, he ran as an election candidate for the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, the Evening Standard reported.
Four others, former immigrations advisors Enamul Karim and Kazi Borkot Ullah, both from Dagenham, accountant Jalpa Trivedi, from St Albans and former immigration advisor Mohammed Tamij Uddin, of east London, were jailed in November last year.
Following the conclusion of the latest court case, prosecutor Maryam Arnott said:
"This is believed to be the largest ever visa fraud that the CPS has dealt with and it is staggering the lengths these individuals went to in order to exploit the UK's immigration system.
"The hard work and expertise of our Specialist Fraud Division and HMRC resulted in them having to face the consequences of their crimes."
Alison Chipperton, from HMRC's Fraud Investigation Service, said: "These defendants willingly joined forces with an organized crime group to steal public money.
"HMRC worked closely with the Home Office to gather the strong evidence that has helped convict this group.
"Anyone with information on anyone committing this type of fraud should report it to HMRC online, or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887."