Nigerian Who Worked As Fake Immigration Consultant Jailed In Canada

A Nigerian man in Winnipeg, Canada who forged bank records and other documents to help would-be immigrants safely enter Canada has been sentenced to two years house arrest.

Chinenye Alozie, 35, pleaded guilty to acting as an unauthorized immigration consultant and to misrepresenting or withholding facts in immigration applications, offenses under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

The court heard the crimes related to Alozie’s dealings with more than 60 foreigners, most of them students, between 2014 and 2019.

Alozie caught the attention of the Canadian Border Services Agency in late 2018 after reports that he had advertised his services to overseas students online.

Chinenye Alozie pleaded guilty to acting as an unauthorized immigration consultant and to misrepresenting or withholding facts about immigration applications. (included)

Alozie “is not a licensed immigration consultant or attorney,” QC Matthew Sinclair told Provincial Court Judge Stacy Cawley at a hearing Tuesday. “He is not authorized to represent persons with regard to their applications.”

A look at Alozie’s bank records revealed deposits of $90,000 in 2016 and $120,000 in 2017 from people believed to be foreigners, Sinclair said. An investigation by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada found that 52 deposits came from people applying to Canada as temporary students, workers or visitors.

Records provided to Border Protection Agency showed that between 2014 and 2018, Alozie used his personal credit cards to pay the government fees of 61 immigration applicants.

A June 2019 search of Alozie’s home uncovered evidence that he helped 20 clients create false bank statements for their immigration applications and “helped invent fictional storylines or personal stories to increase the likelihood that (her) application is approved,” Sinclair said.

Five of Alozie’s clients were allowed into Canada for their fraudulent immigration applications, Sinclair said.

Alozie, a Nigerian-born father of four, owns a restaurant and earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Manitoba in 2015.

During her college days, Alozie was contacted by several Winnipeg schools “and essentially asked to help recruit students to attend schools in the city,” defense attorney Marc Zurbuchen said.

I was under a lot of pressure to lead people to success … and to achieve their goals,” Alozie said in court. “In the beginning I just helped my classmates, but when I successfully helped them, they told their friends and their brothers and the pressure built up.”

Alozie’s sentence, which included a $29,000 fine, was jointly recommended by the Crown and the Defense. Cawley said the verdict was fair, but told Alozie it was important that he acknowledge his actions were not entirely altruistic.

They benefited financially, it wasn’t just good intentions,” Cawley said. “What you did was motivated, at least in part, by greed.”

Alozie agreed.

In Canada, consultants are required to be members of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants, which maintains an online registry of licensed professionals.

Fraud against newcomers is commonplace in the immigration world, said Bhagwant Batth, immigration consultant at Kanwest Immigration Services in Winnipeg.

He has worked in the industry for more than 15 years and has heard many horror stories from immigrants who have been taken advantage of, he said.

I get offended when I hear about people cheating immigrants. It gives our immigrant community a bad name,” Batth said. “It’s very common.”

Batth labeled scammers as “ghost consultants” – unscrupulous people who are not registered with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council.

They often prey on immigrants who may be unaware of regulatory practices, offering deals to unsuspecting newcomers before stealing personal information or extorting victims for money. Most operate from outside the country, but there are still many spirit counselors in Canada, Batth said.

The best way to protect yourself from fraud is to deal with licensed advisors. The upfront cost is often higher, but the extra protection is worth the price, he said.

“I always tell people go to someone who is regulated under ICCRC because then there is at least some accountability… They have appointed officers to resolve complaints.”

Source: Canadatoday

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