Hounslow couple jailed over immigration scam
A man who masterminded a major immigration scam has been jailed for 10 years.
Kaseepathi Koka, of Livingstone Road, Hounslow, his wife and a third gang member were believed to have pocketed up to £250,000 a year by helping people stay illegally in the UK.
Koka pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to charges of fraud, money laundering, conspiring to pervert the course of justice and illegally providing immigration advice.
His wife, Ajitha, 39, admitted conspiring to pervert the course of justice and was given a nine-month sentence at Isleworth Crown Court yesterday.
An investigation by UK Border Agency officers found that the couple set up a number of bogus companies to allow immigrants to extend their visas.
The companies would supply wage slips and transfer temporary "incomes" to applicants’ bank accounts to make it look like they had highly-skilled and well-paid jobs when they applied for a visa extension.
The money would subsequently be paid back through bank accounts run by Tirunagaraja Prasad Thalla.
Thalla, 32, also of Livingstone Road, admitted a money laundering offence and was also jailed for nine months.
In total it is thought the gang helped about 100 immigrants to stay in the country.
Robert Coxhead, senior investigating officer on the West London Immigration Crime Team, said: “This was a sophisticated criminal enterprise, which had the explicit aim of helping those who had no right to be in the UK evade immigration controls.
”We will also now begin confiscation hearings to ensure that, as well as spending time in prison, they won’t benefit financially from their criminality.”
Three men who were also involved in the scam pleaded guilty to fraud charges at a hearing in June.
They were all jailed and subsequently deported to India.
The Kokas and Thall face deportation at the end of their sentences.