Three London-based Indian nationals, including a woman, have been jailed for terms ranging from nine months to ten years for running a lucrative immigration scam.

Kaseepathi Koka (42), described as the “mastermind,” was sentenced for 10 years after admitting to charges of fraud, money laundering, conspiring to pervert the course of justice and illegally providing immigration advice.

His wife, Ajitha (39), and another accomplice, Tirunagaraja Prasad Thalla (32), were jailed for nine months each.

They would be deported back to India after completing their sentences.

Crackdown

They were arrested following an investigation by the UK Border Agency as part of a crackdown on illegal immigration.

Three other Indian nationals, involved in the scam and jailed earlier this year, have since been deported.

Bogus companies

The Agency said in a statement that the Kokas were involved in setting up a number of bogus companies whose main purpose was 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 Thalla.

Forged bank statements

“Kaseepathi Koka also supplied forged bank statements and would complete immigration applications on behalf of his clients, despite not being qualified or registered to do so,” the Agency said, adding that the trio was thought to be making £250,000 a year from the scam.

Removal imminent

About 100 immigrants, staying illegally in Britain with their help, faced removal from the country, it said.

Robert Coxhead, a senior officer of the West London immigration crime team, said it was a “sophisticated criminal enterprise, which had the explicit aim of helping those who had no right to be in the U.K. evade immigration controls.”

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