03 February 2011

Birmingham pastor jailed for UK immigration fraud

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A pastor at a Birmingham church has been jailed for 15 months for forging documents and offering unqualified immigration advice to help foreign nationals illegally enter the UK.

David Morrison, a pastor at the Word Life Centre, William Street North, Newtown, Birmingham, pleaded guilty on 12 November 2010 to providing false representation in UK immigration cases.

He previously pleaded guilty on 28 October 2010 to perverting the course of justice.

He was sentenced today at Birmingham Crown Court to 15 months for perverting the course of justice and to 9 months for providing false representation in immigration case, with the sentences running concurrently.

Morrison, 41, of Erdington, was arrested at his home last year by officers from the UK Border Agency's West Midlands immigration crime team.
The UK Border Agency had received information that Morrison had provided false bank statements and letters to Immigration Tribunals on behalf of foreign nationals who had appealed against decisions to remove them from the UK or to refuse them visas to come to the UK. The majority of these appeals were rejected.

It was also discovered that Morrison had personally represented several cases at Immigration Appeal Tribunals even though he was not, as required by law, registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner.

When acting as a sponsor for a foreign national, Morrison had supplied a bank statement, which showed that he had over £150,000 in his account. However, UK Border Agency officers found that his HSBC account had been closed several months previously with Morrison owing the bank £900.

Detective Constable Chris Aldridge from the UK Border Agency's immigration crime team, said: “This man used what should be a respected position in the community to try and help foreign nationals with no right to be in the UK.
“We will bring before the courts anyone - whether they are a serious criminal or a supposed pillar of the community - who tries to abuse the immigration laws of this country,” he said.

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