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South Oxhey Visa fraudster jailed for more than four years
4:57pm Monday 3rd September 2012 in News
A man who tried to submit hundreds of fraudulent visa applications has today been sentenced to four years and nine months in prison, following an investigation by the UK Border Agency.
Indian national Bhavin Shah, 34, of Edgbaston Road, South Oxhey, 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 UK Border Agency raids in November 2011.
The 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 sentenced to four years and nine months concurrently by Judge Johnson at Isleworth Crown Court.
He was given four years and nine months for conspiracy to defraud the Home Office, two years for money laundering and 18 months for offering immigration advice illegally.
He was also given a £190,000 confiscation order which he has to pay within six months or face an extra two years and nine months on top of the concurrent sentences.