Chinese couple made 500,000 from immigration scam
A Chinese couple pocketed nearly 500,000 by helping immigrants from their homeland stay in the UK illegally using hundreds of fake university documents.
Published: 3:11PM GMT 20 Jan 2010
Haiyang Liu, 29, and his girlfriend Jiao Wang, 26, ran a lucrative internet scam selling bogus diploma certificates to people desperate to stay in the country through the firm E-Fly Education.
The sophisticated forgeries earned the 'well organised criminals' between 500 and 3,000 and duped the Home Office into handing out student visas.
During the two-year fraud immigrants were also provided with papers enabling them to claim council tax handouts from local councils, Southwark Crown Court heard.
Computers seized during a raid on the headquarters in the Isle of Dogs, east London, contained templates for churning out 'proof' of degrees from more than 75 universities across the country.
Wads of cash worth thousands of pounds were also found stashed around the property in Magellan Place.
Liu was jailed for three years and nine months while Wang was jailed for 13 months.
Passing sentence the judge, Mr Recorder Stephen Gee QC said: The fraud you have been engaged in has been one of some sophistication and has been a fraud on the UK government and others. It involves a large number of different cases in which individuals have behaved fraudulently.
James Brown, prosecuting, said police uncovered thousands of university diploma certificates and other university documents, including attendance records.
The fake qualifications were used to cheat immigration controls and employers both here in the UK and in China, the court heard.
Mr Brown said Liu sold forged university documents to Chinese students 'which facilitated their admission into this country and continued residence on education visas.'
The scam, which netted the couple at least 470,000, involved immigrants conning their way into Britain using bogus offers from universities.
If they do not take up the offer or leave the course they are required to apply to the Home Office for a visa extension at the end of their first year.
But some applicants went home to China to apply for jobs using their new 'qualifications', which were not worth the paper they were written on.
During the police swoop on June 4 last year Liu threw large bundles of blank university certificates out of the back of the premesis.
Liu, of Magellan Place, has admitted a string of charges including making use of articles for fraud, possession of articles for use in fraud and money laundering between April 30 2007 and June 5 last year.
Wang, who worked as the company secretary, has admitted possessing criminal property and money laundering offences.
Det Insp Perry Stokes, who headed the Economic Crime Directorate team which investigated the fraud for the City of London police force, said: 'Both Liu and Wang are extremely well organised criminals and displayed no respect for the law or for the UK educational establishments that they targeted.
'Their fake documents undermined both immigration and higher educational controls and they knew the documents they produced would be used for those purpose.
'It is not only the UK that suffers from such criminality. There will now be people who have returned to China and secured jobs on the basis of fake educational certificates.
'They may be working, for example, in construction, medicine or financial services without the appropriate qualifications and training.'
The City of London police force worked closely with the Home Office, universities across the UK and other educational establishments during the course of the investigation.
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