THE ringleader of a “sophisticated” immigration scam gang which tried to trick the Home Office into allowing married partners to enter the United Kingdom illegally has been made the subject of a Serious Crime Prevention Order (SCPO).
Denaught Sharma, aged 57, of Ruskin Avenue, Rogerstone, Newport, ran a syndicate of 10 swindlers jailed for nearly 30 years at Cardiff Crown Court last summer.
Sharma ran an accountancy service “at the heart of the offending” and created false documentation, including wage slips and P60s, in support of immigration applications to enter or stay in the UK.
The owner of companies called ACS Limited and Storm 90 PWR Ltd, the defendant, who was not a qualified accountant, was jailed for seven years and seven months
Sharma was back in Cardiff Crown Court this week where Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke imposed a five-year SCPO against him.
An SCPO is a civil court order used at preventing, restricting or disrupting a convicted criminal’s involvement in further serious crime once they are released from prison.
It imposes a variety of conditions on an offender. Examples include restricting who they can associate with, restricting their travel movements, or placing a requirement on them to report their financial affairs to the police.
Sharma’s SCPO will come into force when he leaves jail.
During his sentencing last August, prosecutor Carl Harrison said the “illusion of a salaries” were made by Sharma by the creation of “ghost employees” working in fictitious jobs.
Although fabricated they included the payment of income tax and National Insurance and were made to support sponsors who were trying to get their spouses into the country because they did not meet the financial requirement of earning at least £18,600 a year to comply with immigration regulations.
The court heard it was a “sophisticated operation” and that fake documents were sold by the fraudsters for up to £4,500.
Boss Sharma forged documents and opened a bank account sponsors would pay into to create the illusion of a monthly income large enough to be eligible to bring their husbands or wives into Britain. Their money would later be returned to them, minus a fee.
A court heard Sharma was ‘at the heart of offending’ and sold the slips for up to £4,500 – including to desperate bride Sarah Brindle. Brindle, 25, of Newport, South Wales, needed to prove she earned at least £18,600 to allow her husband Sandeep Kumar to stay in the country.
A court heard she wed Kumar, 31, after he came to Britain from India to study a masters degree in business on an education visa.
But he faced leaving the country after his visa expired and was working as a McDonald’s manager – and needed to prove his wife was earning enough to support him.
The bogus wage slips showed Brindle was working for the accountancy business to support her husband being in the country. Brindle was jailed for two years but Kumar since fled the UK and left his wife behind. He was convicted in his absence.
Mohammed Uddin, Brindle, Abdul Muqith, Suleza Begum, Zakiyya Begum and Jagdeep Singh were convicted of facilitating the illegal entry to the UK of their wives and husbands by using the fake employment records.
All other defendants were charged with offences of making a false representation under the Immigration Act. Seven defendants pleaded guilty. Brindle, Kumar and Shifar denied their charges but were convicted by a jury after a trial.
Sheikh, 42, of Cardiff, was jailed for four years and nine months and Shifar, of Merthyr Tydfil, was jailed for four years.
Sharma was charged with offences of making a false representation under the Immigration Act.
He admitted six counts of obtaining leave to remain in the UK by deception under the same act.
The court heard how Sharma had five previous convictions for 16 offences including affray, possession of drug and a food hygiene offence.
The other defendants, from Newport, Cardiff and Merthyr Tydfil, were convicted of making a false representation under the Immigration Act.
Representing himself during his sentencing, he said in mitigation: “I am deeply sorry for what I have done. I stepped over the mark.”
He said he had been motivated by “humanitarian” factors and had not benefitted financially.
Sharma added: “I don’t want to go to jail.”
Speaking outside the court after sentencing, Nick Jupp, assistant director at Immigration Enforcement CFI, said: “It is clear that a lot of planning and organisation went into running this organised criminal enterprise.”
He said Sharma “cynically forged documents and invented fake employers for financial gain”.
Mr Jupp added: “By bringing these criminals to justice we have stopped a concerted and systematic assault on the UK’s immigration system. We will not hesitate to prosecute anyone involved in this type of criminality