A group of people behind the UK’s biggest ever visa scam have been spared jail.
The fraudsters set up a network of 53 fake companies and created bogus documents allowing 900 immigrants stay in the country illegally.Man charged with murdering Keeley Bunker, 20, who was found dead in woodland
Among the companies they set up they used the names Immigration4u, Mo’s Spice Inn and Empire Finance, Southwark Crown Court heard yesterday.
They fabricated payslips and gave false information for entrepreneur visas that suggest applicants have access to at least £50,000.
The gang also temporarily transferred money into their clients’ bank accounts to make it appear as though they were earning more than they actually were.
The money was then transferred back and forth until the visa requirements were met.
One of worker’s details suggested he was earning £50,000 while working at a fast food restaurant.
But despite their deception, taxi driver Jillur Rahman Khan, 43, married couple Mazharul Haque, 46, and Maksuda Begum, 45, and Shaheda Roxsanna, 47, have all been spared jail.Thomas Cook 'set to go bust' stranding 150,000 holidaymakers
Millions of pounds are believed to have been laundered through the fake companies and the immigrants’ bank accounts between 2008 and 2013.
Tax officials believe it would have meant a tax loss of £16.6million.
The immigrants were charged at least £700 each by the gang in the fraud that was described by judge Martin Griffith as being carried out on an ‘industrial scale’.
They were given sentences ranging from 10 months to two years, but they were all suspended for two years.
They worked alongside another gang who were sentenced last year, including law student Abul Kalam Muhammad Rezaul Karim, 42, who is still on the run and was given a 10-year jail sentence in his absence in November 2018.
Speaking after the suspended setences were handing down HMRC assistant director Alison Chipperton said: ‘These defendants willingly joined forces with an organised crime group to steal public money.
‘HMRC worked closely with the Home Office to gather the strong evidence that has helped convict this group.’
Four others, former immigration advisors Enamul Karim and Kazi Borkot Ullah, both from Dagenham, accountant Jalpa Trivedi, from St Albans and former immigration adviser Mohammed Tamij Uddin, of east London, were jailed in November last year.
Maryam Arnott, of the CPS, 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.’