A law firm has shut down and three law firm employees found guilty of providing unregulated immigration advice following a two-year investigation.
Dan Romulus Dandes and Babbar Ali Jamil, directors at DDR Legal Services LLP, and Zia Bi of Burlow & Spencer Ltd, were found guilty at the Old Bailey of six counts relating to 19 offences of unlawfully providing immigration advice.
London-based DDR Legal operated as an immigration franchising business, while Burlow & Spencer purported to act under its supervision until it ceased trading and entered liquidation.
The Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), which investigated those involved, said Dandes established a supervision scheme for his company by claiming qualification as an EU registered lawyer.
A number of individuals and organisations in the UK signed up to the scheme, which was designed to circumvent regulation by the OISC or any other appropriate regulatory body.
Almost 100 complaints were made against Burlow & Spencer Ltd, and the OISC challenged DDR’s claim to being qualified to provide supervision.
Dr Ian Leigh, deputy commissioner of the OISC, said the sophisticated scheme showed a knowing and calculating disregard of the statutory regime. ‘The scheme put in place by DDR Legal Service LLP, was successful in dishonestly taking a significant amount of money from vulnerable people,’ he added.
‘There was a total disregard for statutory requirements, and they acted in deliberate defiance of the law. The degree of culpability is high, as is the harm they have caused. They owe a considerable amount of money to individuals and by the high number of complaints against Burlow & Spencer Ltd alone, they have clearly undermined the immigration system.’
Sentencing was adjourned until September at the Old Bailey after consideration of a financial investigation and possible confiscation orders.
The trio were accused of providing unqualified immigration advice and/or services contrary to section 91 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.