UK Indian visa 'conman' jailed for defrauding the Home Office

India News Bulletin Desk

Indian national Bhavin Shah who tried to submit hundreds of fraudulent visa applications and was giving immigration advice to his clients illegally, has been jailed for nearly five years after a UK Border Agency investigation.

Shah, 34, who is from Edgbaston Road in Watford, Hertfordshire, 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, the UKBA has said.

He was operating from his business premises in Trinity House in Wembley and Viglan House in Alperton, northwest London and would use forged bank statements and qualification certificates to support their applications, often without the knowledge of the applicant.

Shah pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to defraud the Home Office, giving immigration advice illegally and money laundering during his trial at Isleworth crown court.

His illegal operation was busted and some of the fraudulent documents were found on computers seized from his addresses during a UKBA raids in November 2011.

Financial investigations showed that Shah had transferred around £300,000 to bank accounts in India, the UK border control agency said. The UKBA has 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 six months or face an extra 2 years and nine months on top of the concurrent sentences.

“Shah was a conman who thought he could cheat the system and cheat his clients, many of whom went to him in good faith hoping he could help them,” said Paul Tansiri, who led the investigation for the UKBA.

After serving his 4 years and nine months prison term, he will be deported. Anyone from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who is sentenced to 12 months or more in prison is faces deportation on completion of their sentence.

Shah’s sentencing followed the conviction of John Masih from Hounslow. 39-year-old Masih played a key role in the scam. He had produced many of the fake bank statements and documents used by Shah and had pleaded guilty of charges against him.

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