Immigration scam gang based in Alperton jailed for almost 30 years
- Credit: Archant
A gang which ran an immigration swindle from an office in Alperton have been jailed for almost 30 years in total.
Shahzad Sultan, 37, of Church Lane, Kingsbury, headed the audacious scam which netted thousands of pounds through bogus immigration applications.
Harrow Crown Court heard the gang created fake payslips and tax returns from their headquarters in Crown House on the North Circular Road, to support applicants seeking a highly skilled Tier 1 visa.
The false documents were processed via the bank accounts of multiple fake companies set up in the names of the applicants, falsely giving the impression they were financially eligible for a visa when they were in low paid jobs such as supermarket shelf stacking.
The scam was based on the transfer of money between accounts to make it appear the applicant was on a high wage.
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The six-strong gang were snared when fraudbusters from the Home Office stormed their office seizing applications, thousands of blank payslips, 27 mobile phones, 36 computers/hard drives and £15,000 in cash.
Sultan was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years, Indian national Devashish Shah, of St Pauls Avenue, Kenton, was jailed for two-and-a-half years, Nepalese national Shanker Bhandari, 36, from Hayes, received four years and four months.
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Pakistan national Salman Shahzad, 37, from Greenford, was tried in his absence after absconding and sentenced to eight years.
He was also found guilty of obtaining his own leave to remain by deception in relation to his own leave in the UK and sentenced to nine months to be served consecutively.
Pakistan national Fida Hussain, 34, from Southall, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years and a further six months, which will run concurrently, for obtaining his own leave to remain by deception.
All five were sentenced for conspiring to defraud the Home Office.
The sixth man Hafiz Ullah, 34, from Southall, was sentenced to 51 weeks after admitting a charge of money laundering in relation to £80,000 before the trial started.
Bhandari, Shahzad and Hussian face deportation after they have served their sentences and all six will appear before a confiscation hearing at a later date.
David Fairclough, from the Home Office immigration enforcement criminal investigations team, said: “This was a fairly sophisticated scam, designed to help people who would otherwise have no right to be here stay in the UK. Our officers’ thorough investigation has helped put this gang behind bars.
“We will not tolerate immigration abuse, and as an organisation are cracking down on it all over the country.
“As the sentences handed out show, those who seek to exploit the immigration system will face heavy penalties.”
Any applications which were suspended by the Home Office as a result of the investigation into the gang could now be refused.