A 47-year-old Victorian woman has been sentenced to nine months jail after pleading guilty to several charges relating to providing unregistered migration assistance.
In some cases, her unwitting victims believed they had immigrated legally to Australia, only to discover the fraud when attempting to return to the country from overseas and being denied entry because they did not hold a valid visa.
The woman, who has not been named in a statement from the Australian Border Force (ABF), was sentenced in Werribee Magistrates Court to nine months imprisonment, with a 12-month community correction order to commence upon her release. She has also been ordered by the court to pay compensation to her victims.
Crimes of this nature cause significant hurt
“Unlawfully taking money from vulnerable and unwitting people, who are doing the right thing by trying to ensure they are lawfully in Australia, is a terrible crime,” Commander James Watson of the ABF said. “The hurt crimes of this nature cause is significant.”
Watson said the organisation was committed to stamping out people taking advantage of vulnerable members of the community by giving unregistered migration assistance.
The investigation of the woman began in 2018 after the ABF received allegations of unregistered immigration assistance and fraudulent conduct by the former registered migration agent. Her registration had previously cancelled for breaches of the Code of Conduct.
The offences brought before the court involved fraudulent conduct between 2014 and 2017, in that she was providing false documents to her clients purported to be from the Department of Home Affairs.
Some paid over $15,000 for supposed visas
This was to convince them they had been granted visas or, in some instances, to pay over $15,000 as a security for a supposed visa grant.
As a result, she was charged with various breaches of the Migration Act by the ABF and with fraud by the Victoria Police.
She subsequently pleaded guilty to all 12 commonwealth charges and to those laid by the police.
“We will not tolerate this kind of illegal activity and, with our partner agencies, we will track down those involved and bring them to justice,” Watson warned.