Sep 6 2012 by Hannah Bewley, Harrow Observer
A FRAUDSTER who tried to submit hundreds of fraudulent visa applications has been sentenced to nearly five years in prison.
Bhavin Shah, 34, admitted charges of conspiring to defraud the Home Office, giving immigration advice illegally and money laundering at Isleworth Crown Court.
The Indian national operated his business from premises in Trinity House, Wembley, and Viglan House, Alperton, and charged clients between £3,000 and £5,000 to process their visa extensions, even though he was not a registered immigration advisor or solicitor.
Shah, who had transferred around £300,000 to bank accounts in India, used 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 last year, following information supplied by an undercover newspaper reporter.
Paul Tansiri, who led the investigation for the UK Border Agency, said: “Shah was a conman who thought he could cheat his clients, many of whom went to him in good faith.
“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, of Edgbaston Road, Watford, was sentenced to 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, to run concurrently.
He was also given a £190,000 confiscation order at the hearing on Monday.
John Masih, 39, of Sutton Lane, Hounslow, admitted producing fake documents for Mr Shah and was jailed for 18 months for conspiracy to defraud and six months for illegally providing immigration advice at an earlier hearing.