Two men jailed for running bogus immigration firm based in Romford

Ifelola Owoseni, 53

Ifelola Owoseni, 53 - Credit: Archant

Two men who ran a bogus immigration advisory firm in Romford have today been jailed.

Babatunde Ogunmakin, 45

Babatunde Ogunmakin, 45 - Credit: Archant

Ifelola Owoseni, 53, and Babatunde Ogunmakin, 45, offered clients advice on immigration cases and submitted about 400 visa applications containing false documents to the Home Office.

Operating under the name East London Legal Centre, the pair worked out of Owoseni’s home address in Grove Road, Romford.

Most of the applications were rejected, and a specialist team of Home Office investigators uncovered the fraud – arresting Owoseni in March 2012 and Ogunmakin, of Montague Road, Tottenham, in October 2012.

Owoseni and Ogunmakin were jailed for 6-and-a-half years and 2 years respectively at Wood Green Crown Court, after being found guilty of assisting unlawful immigration and providing immigration advice when not qualified.

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Owoseni was also found guilty of acting as a solicitor when not qualified.

Neil Scotney, from the Home Office’s Criminal Investigations team, said: “Both these individuals tried to profit from abuse of the immigration system. They took money from their clients in full knowledge that they were not licensed to act on their behalf.

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“This case sends a clear message to anyone involved in this sort of criminality.”

Neither of the men were registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), and Owoseni told clients he was a qualified immigration solicitor, and even placed the name and details of a bona fide solicitor on his firm’s headed notepaper without the solicitor’s knowledge.

It is believed the East London Legal Centre received around £400,000 from applicants, with some clients charged upwards of £1000. The Home Office is now seeking to secure the confiscation of the funds both men made from their fraud.

Anyone with information regarding illegal advisers can contact OISC on 020 7211 1500, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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