MUSLIM EX-COUNCILLOR JAILED FOR HUGE IMMIGRATION SCAM
Disgraced former councillor jailed for nine years for masterminding family’s immigration racket
A DISGRACED former Bradford councillor, who masterminded a cynical and sophisticated immigration scam to make money, has been jailed for nine years.
Four relatives, including three sons, who Khadam Hussain recruited to the conspiracy were locked up with him yesterday for at least seven years.
Judge David Hatton QC said Hussain and his relatives had flouted immigration laws, duped innocent immigrants and put the reputations of respectable solicitors and estate agents at risk.
Hussain, 62, a former Conservative councillor – who was axed from the Council for failing to attend meetings, while claiming thousands of pounds in allowances – held his head in his hands as he was sentenced at Bradford Crown Court.
Hussain, of Box Tree Close, Girlington; his wife Zahida Parveen Hussain, 53, also of Box Tree Close; sons Adam Ashraf, 36, of Northcroft Rise, Girlington, Adnan Hussain, 31, of Hilton Road, Little Horton, and Gibran Hussain, 26, of Box Tree Close, and their cousin Numan Shafi, 24, of Hilton Road, were convicted yesterday of conspiracy to defraud after a trial lasting several weeks.
Zahida Hussain was found guilty by a majority of 10-2, and Adnan Hussain by a majority of 11-1.
Ashraf, Gibran Hussain and Shafi were jailed for seven years. Adnan Hussain, who also pleaded guilty to falsely applying for a carer’s allowance, was sentenced to seven years and three months.
Judge Hatton told the defendants they had all been convicted of a conspiracy to defraud entry clearance officers by the creation and submission of false documents in support of applications for entry into the UK.
The judge said: “This conspiracy involved a thoroughly dishonest, cynical and wholesale assault on the integrity of the immigration procedures, rules and regulations.”
More than 100 false applications had been identified. Judge Hatton said the conspiracy had been for financial gain, mostly on behalf of strangers and committed over a number of years. It was a sophisticated and planned operation.
Applications were supported by false stamps from firms of solicitors, false letters of employment, false property reports on available accommodation and false wage slips.
The judge said that, though some of the applicants were aware of the falsity, some were entirely innocent and were simply duped and deprived of legitimate applications which would likely have succeeded.
Judge Hatton said a number of responsible and respectable firms of solicitors and estate agents had their identities used without their knowledge, putting their good reputations at risk.
Applicants were charged between £200 and £3,000 for the defendants’ service.
Prosecutor Craig Hassall said an investigation revealed a large-scale immigration fraud, led by Khadam Hussain and centred on The Palace, a function venue on City Road, Bradford.
The court heard that, although functions were sometimes held at The Palace, the venue was essentially a front for the family’s principal business of offering immigration advice and documentation in return for payment.
The court was told that Khadam Hussain had never been officially registered as an immigration adviser and did not openly advertise himself as one, but it was common knowledge in the local community that he was the person to go to for help with immigration matters.
The defendants had provided more than 100 applicants with forged documents which suggested their sponsors were able to house and support them financially.
Mr Hassall said: “Few of the defendants’ customers would have been able legitimately to provide this type of information and their application would therefore have failed.
“By this deception, the defendants have assisted numerous people to enter the United Kingdom on fraudulently obtained visas.”
He said the estimate of the financial gain from the false applications was in the region of £175,000.
The crime came to light in February 2011 after Nasreen Karim, a solicitor and partner at Platinum Partnership Solicitors in Bradford, reported fraudulent use of her signature and company stamp.
Judge Hatton told Khadam Hussain he was central to the conspiracy. “You were its originator and its organiser. You recruited others, including your own sons.”
Khadam Hussain’s barrister, Simon Keeley, said the applicants were intending to come to the UK legitimately. “This isn’t a case aggravated by the use of false identities allowing unknown individuals to enter this country.”
Mr Keeley said there was an other side to his client’s character and he had set up an orphanage in Pakistan.
Judge Hatton adjourned sentencing on Zahida Hussain for a pre-sentence report and granted her conditional bail. But he told her: “You must prepare yourself for a prison sentence.”
Speaking after the hearing, Craig Swanston, from Home Office Criminal Investigations, said: “The sentences handed out today come at the end of a complex investigation into the criminal activities of a Bradford based organised crime group led by Khadam Hussain.
“His gang, which included members of his family, used fraudulent practices to cheat our immigration system and facilitate the illegal entry of foreign nationals into the UK.
“Today’s sentences reflect the gravity of these offences, and this gang are now paying the price for their criminality.
“We have specialist Criminal Investigations teams, and our officers are determined to bring anyone involved in this sort of criminality to justice.”
Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire added: “The Government is making Britain an ever more hostile place for immigration criminals as part of our determination to build a system that is fair to British citizens and cracks down on those who flout the rules.
“This gang thought they could profit from cheating our immigration laws, but thanks to the dedication of our investigative teams they have been caught and sent to prison.
“These sentences send a clear message to the gangs involved in this sort of organised criminality – the Home Office crime teams have the skills and experience to track you down.”