Three jailed for UK's biggest visa scam

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The Independent Online

An Indian solicitor and two women who both claimed to be his wives were jailed yesterday for the roles they played in the biggest visa scam seen in Britain.

Jatinder Kumar Sharma, 44, was jailed for seven years and Rakhi Shahi, 31, sentenced to eight years for running a "fraud factory" which helped hundreds of immigrants apply for visas using bogus documents and false identities.

Neelam Sharma, 38, who handled some of the hundreds of thousands of pounds that poured into the business, was jailed for four years for money laundering. She was cleared of conspiracy to defraud and immigration offences.

All three live together in Southall, west London, and, while Neelam married Jatinder nearly 20 years ago, a marriage certificate appears to show that he also recently married Rakhi. Police said both marriages took place in India.

Jatinder and Rakhi had amassed 90,000 documents including false university certificates, fraudulent academic records, bogus bank statements and payslips through their immigration consultancy business, Univisas. They also kept passports, 50 different types of headed notepaper and 150 ink stamps which were used to create fake documents to support visa applications.