UK Court Orders Fraudster Who Rigged Language Test for Foreign Students to Repay £230,000
The gang rigged English language tests, and forged academic records of foreign students for visa extension.
A UK court has ordered a fraudster, who helped to fake academic records and rig English language exams so foreign students could apply for visa extensions illegally, to pay back £230,000, Dailymail.com reported.
Wahida Sultana, 40, was the principal of Eden College International in East London. She was associated with a group that faked academic records for foreign students who required visa extensions. Sultana was ordered by Judge Joanna Korner QC to pay £230,000 within a span of three months. “By agreement the benefit is agreed to be £352,000. The available amount is £230,000. I therefore make a confiscation order to the sum of £230,000. There will be three months to pay,” the judge said, Dailymail.com reported.
In 2016, Harinder Kumar, Hemant Kumar, Talal Chowdhury, Shaheen Ahmed, and Mohammad Hasan were found guilty of plotting to facilitate the commission of breaches of immigration law between Oct. 17, 2012 and Feb. 10, 2014, and stood trial in 2016, the report added.
Ahmed and Chowdhury were jailed for eight years each, while Hasan was jailed for five years and Harinder Kumar got a three-year prison term.
Sultana and Hemant Kumar were convicted after a second trial last year, following which Sultana was sentenced to two year in prison with the sentence suspended for two years in August.
The scam was exposed in early 2014 after an investigation by BBC’s Panorama program in which journalists went undercover as students seeking to make use of the services of the gang. They recorded the fraudsters on their cameras while they were at work. The BBC was told that Studentway could get past mandatory English tests, even if applicants spoke no English
The language tests were conducted at Eden College International, while Hasan was a “designated invigilator.” Students were either given the answers during the exam at the college or the gang made arrangements for other people to take the test in place of the students. The scam also included Studentway Education in Southall and Total Care London in Whitechapel, east London, the report said.
The gang also rigged the English language tests needed by the Home Office and was able to make a sum of £500,000 from students who were looking to extend their visas.
The police started investigating the scam soon after and found that three firms were involved in the scam. The gang provided documents like bank statements as well as academic records for migrants of countries like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh who were seeking to extend their stay in United Kingdom fraudulently.
Immigrants looking for ways to extend their visas fraudulently were picked by Ahmed and Chowdhury from their educational consulting company Total Care London. Harinder Kumar ran an immigration advice service, Student Way Education in Southall, Middlesex, where they promised a “guaranteed pass” to students for £500.
“The evidence makes clear that at the college which is at the center of this case, there were during the 16-month period covered by the charge, at least 800 bogus English language examinations taken, the vast majority of which were later relied upon in support of fraudulent applications to the Home Office for the obtaining of student visas,” prosecutor David Walbank was quoted as saying earlier by the publication.
Another hearing has been scheduled for May 3 this year to decide the amount Kumar will have to pay back.