TWO men have been jailed for a total of 10 years for running an immigration scam worth up to half a million pounds which was exposed by the Yorkshire Post.
Yousaf Amin and Sajad Khan fleeced hundreds of unsuspecting immigrants by providing fake English language courses which purported to offer genuine qualifications required by the Home Office when applying for British citizenship.
The fraudsters, both 34 and from Bradford, also set up an illegal immigration advice service despite Amin previously being jailed and banned for life after a previous fake work permit scam.
Sentencing the two at Bradford Crown Court yesterday, Recorder Sandiford said Amin, the architect of the scam had “ruthlessly” exploited the hopes of vulnerable immigrants who thought they were receiving legitimate advice and qualifications.
He sentenced Amin to six years in prison for fraud, with a 12-month sentence for illegally providing immigration advice to run concurrently.
Khan was jailed for four years. Both men were also given 12-month sentences, to run concurrently, for fraudulently obtaining an Audi Q7 and VW Touareg, each worth more than £40,000. The cars, obtaining through loans backed by false documents, have both since disappeared.
The swindle, which was revealed by the Yorkshire Post in April 2008, began just five days after Amin had left prison in early 2007 for the previous immigration scam.
Amin, who has a law degree from Leeds Metropolitan University, enlisted the help of Khan to act as a front for the fraudulent enterprises.
An immigration advice company called Temple and Khan was set up in Bradford in Khan’s name to get round Amin’s lifetime ban from the regulator, the Office for Immigration Services Commissioner.
The business, which was completely illegal, netted in excess of £100,000 through pocketing fees for a full range of immigration advice services.
At one point, Amin persuaded a woman to part with £3,000 towards a £5,000 fee to arrange a sham marriage which ultimately never went ahead.
With money already pouring in from the immigration service, Amin and Khan then branched out by setting up a fraudulent company called Training Direct to provide English language courses, largely run at a training centre in Leeds.
Between November 2007 and March 2008, it stacked up more than £300,000 from immigrants duped into paying £350 for a worthless qualification.
The business began to unravel when course certificates, falsely claimed to be accredited by City and Guilds, proved useless for British citizenship applications.
Recorder Sandiford said Amin was “a thoroughly dishonest, greedy and, indeed, ruthless individual who is quite prepared to exploit people to make profit”.
Detective Chief Inspector Mick Lawrenson of West Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit said: “This was an organised and intricate crime which left hundreds of people across the UK out of pocket with useless citizenship certificates that wouldn’t help them in the process to be awarded UK citizenship.
“Amin clearly knew he had a time limit for the deception and tried to fob complaints off as long as possible before printing fake certificates as a last resort and then finally closing down his businesses and disappearing.
“We’ve estimated the men fraudulently obtained around half a million pounds. We expect that following the sentencing more victims will come forward. Amin and Khan will now have time in prison to consider their actions and a confiscation order will be sought.”