22 February 2011
Cleaning boss jailed for UK immigration scam
An investigation by the UK Border Agency has resulted in the jailing of a woman who made hundreds of thousands of pounds by employing illegal immigrants.
Ukranian national, Halyna Semenikhina, 42-years-old of Well Street in Hackney, was found guilty of assisting illegal UK immigration and money laundering last week at Southwark Crown Court. The judge sentenced her to 5 years in prison.
Her prosecution followed a raid on the Lanesborough Hotel on Hyde Park Corner on 12 August 2010, where two contract cleaners were arrested for immigration offences. They told officers that Semenikhina was their boss.
Investigators from the London immigration crime team discovered that Semenikhina was responsible for recruiting and supervising the employees, and that she had their wages paid direct into her bank account and would charge them at least £200 per week for accommodation.
At the time of her arrest, Semenikhina had more than £380,000 in her numerous bank accounts.
Chris Foster, London immigration crime team, UK Border Agency said Ms Semenikhina cruelly exploited the desperation of others for her own personal financial gain.
“As this case shows, illegal immigration can be big business. I hope this sends out a message that we are committed to tackling the criminals behind it, putting the ringleaders before the courts, and, ultimately behind bars,” he said.
Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings are now underway, to confiscate her assets and ensure that Halyna Semenikhina never benefits from her criminality. She also faces deportation at the end of her sentence.
The London immigration crime team is a specialist unit of police officers seconded from the Metropolitan Police working alongside warranted UK Border Agency officers to investigate organised UK immigration crime.