Dagenham couple ran international visa fraud scam

A Dagenham couple who ran the UK arm of an international visa fraud scam have been jailed.

Shah Jamal, 47, of Bennetts Castle Lane in Dagenham admitted 13 counts of assisting unlawful immigration, while his wife Ruhama Akhtar Chowdhury, 33, pleaded guilty to three counts of the same offence.

Jamal was jailed for 21 months by a judge at Isleworth Crown Court last Friday. Chowdhury was given a 10 month sentence suspended for two years and 150 hours of community service.

In October 2010 Border Force officers intercepted a package containing counterfeit immigration stamps at Heathrow airport. The package had come from Bangladesh and was addressed to their home in Dagenham.

An Border Force and Met Police investigation found that the couple, who are British citizens, supplied false sponsorship declarations and forged documentation which would then used by Bangladeshi nationals applying for visas at the British High Commission in Dhaka.

They ran a company called Raksha Law Associates based in Whitechapel that was not registered with any legal accrediting body and was essentially a from for their criminal enterprise.

Chief immigration officer, Jonathan Bush, from Border Force, said: “Jamal and Chowdhury headed the UK arm of a significant organised crime network which aimed to help people to and stay in the UK.”