Two men, one of them a solicitor, who set up bogus companies and issued pay slips and wage payments have been jailed for helping people stay illegally in the UK by making it look as if they had well paid jobs.
Registered solicitor Srinath Aredla, 39, and Santosh Koletti, 33, both of Hounslow in London are thought to have made more than £800,000 from the immigration scam. They have been jailed for a total of 11 years following an investigation by the UK Border Agency.
Their companies, Powerstream Employment Ltd, Aspire Employment Solutions Ltd and Synapse Solutions Ltd, had Koletti listed as their director. They would issue payslips and wage payments to their clients, making it seem like they had well paid jobs.
This would then be used to support visa applications to stay in the UK as highly skilled migrants. The applications would be submitted by Aredla who worked as a solicitor.
Their scam was picked up when our case workers noticed a large number of applications from employees of the same group of companies were being dealt with by the same solicitor.
They were arrested by officers from the UK Border Agency’s West London criminal and financial investigation team at their homes and officers recovered documentation and passports linking the pair to visa applications that were in progress. Enquiries revealed that a large amount of money had gone through their bank accounts.
‘This was a sophisticated scam which netted the perpetrators a large amount of money, around £800,000. That Aredla was prepared to abuse his position as a practicing solicitor to help others break the law makes his offending all the more serious,’ said senior investigating officer Robert Coxhead from the UK Border Agency.
‘Not only will the pair face deportation after serving their sentences, we have also begun Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings to prevent them from benefiting financially from their crimes,’ he added.
Anyone from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who is sentenced to 12 months or more in prison is automatically eligible for deportation on completion of their sentence.
Some 21 people who are known to have been clients of Aredla and Koletti have already been removed from the country.
The UK Border Agency’s West London criminal and financial investigation team is a specialist unit of police officers seconded from the metropolitan police working alongside warranted UK Border Agency officers to investigate organised immigration crime.