Biggest visa scam in UK: Three Indians jailed for 19 years

Biggest visa scam in UK: Three Indians jailed for 19 years

A city court on Wednesday sentenced Jatinder Kumar Sharma, 44, and his second wife Rakhi Shahi, 31, for seven and eight years respectively for running a visa racket that allowed Indians and Pakistani nationals to study and work in Britain.

Another accused Neelam Sharma, Jatinder’s first wife, was sentenced for four years.
The court also ordered that they be deported at the end of their sentences.

Judge Richard McGregor-Johnson said: “Various criticisms have been made of the actions of the agencies responsible for checking those documents. Those criticisms are plainly well founded in my view. The checks were woefully inadequate and frequently non-existent.” Tony Smith, Regional Director of UK Border Agency, said: “This is the biggest investigation we undertook and it’s a major breakthrough into organised immigration gangs.”

Jatinder Sharma and Shahi had a network of bogus colleges and sold fake academic certificates to people who paid up to £4,000 each for a false education history that gained them the right to live in Britain.

The three ran a company called Univisas from Southall, west London and would even offer a money-back guarantee to any customer denied a visa.

Police and immigration officials found 90,000 documents during a raid on two warehouses and the company premises in February last year.

During the raid, the police found evidence against Jatinder Sharma that he planned to move the company to India, where he could operate out of reach of the British authorities.

Among the documents seized were false university certificates from India and Pakistan, false academic records from British colleges and fake bank statements and pay slips.

Employees at the London School of E-Commerce reportedly supplied fraudulent material including degrees, diplomas and employment material. It ran one accredited nursing course but had a huge number of clients on its books.

Prosecuting lawyer Francis Sheridan said: “It is believed this prosecution represents the largest single prosecution of dishonest records ever submitted to the Home Office by an individual business. It is a huge attack on the system.”

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