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Immigration/Naturalisation Fraud

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R v. M & Others

A complicated conspiracy case where the prosecution alleged at one stage that there were potentially more than 1000 individuals who had benefited by the fraud. These figures were an exaggeration.

The prosecution claimed that my client was part of an organised crime group based in the Manchester area, where the service offered was to assist in the naturalisation process; this consisted of the application forms together with all the supporting documents such as passports, utility bills, bank statements and identity documents.

The Home Office became suspicious after a single caseworker noted that there were some similarities between different and unconnected applications. The Home Office concluded that false identities and documentation had been used to support the application for naturalisation. Matters were reported to the police and the police investigation commenced. The police uncovered further details and instances of the fraud perpetrated on the UK government. One such discovery was that the immigration passport entry stamps used to enter the UK were also false.

Our client, M, was employed by a local bank as a personal banker. The prosecution alleged that he was involved in the conspiracy as he had opened bank accounts, knowing that the details supplied to him were not genuine. All defendants in the matter pleaded not guilty, and the case proceeded to trial. It was interesting to note that although the prosecution had initially alleged that our client had breached banking procedure, by the time they had called their evidence each prosecution witness had agreed that our client had complied with banking protocol.

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