Abdullah Azad, 76, has been found guilty of producing fake passports and visas for illegal immigrants costing British taxpayers millions of pounds. Azad would provide the documentation for immigrants in return for payments of thousands of pounds.
His actions have caused widespread repercussions with many of the individuals he assisted having been granted British Citizenship as a result of the documents created by Azad. Others accessed welfare benefits and employment in the UK.
Mr Azad has now been jailed for five years. Throughout the duration of his scam he used fake Home Office stamps, college stamps and National Insurance cards. He also posed as Azfal Khan, the former mayor of Manchester, when he contacted Graham Stinger MP for assistance with an individual’s case.
The raid on Mr Azad’s property took place back in 2007 by the Serious and Organised Crime Agency. Once inside they found fake passports, cash totalling £18000 and files relating to 5000 families. Many of the individuals he worked with were oblivious to his illegal activity while others knew what he was doing. It has been impossible to trace most of his clients. However, the court heard about one individual, Tariq Chaudhry, who believed that Azad was a qualified immigration lawyer. Mr Chaudhry became a British Citizen following Azad’s forged “indefinite leave to remain” stamp on his paperwork. Another Pakistani man paid Azad £3100 back in 2003 to help himself and his Filipino wife remain in the UK legally. He believed he was in the country legally until a raid on his place of employment by immigration officials.
A representative from SOCA stated: “Azad’s files were grouped under family names, each of which had two or three people in, perhaps more, suggesting he could have helped 15,000 with bogus details, many of whom cannot be traced and are not known to the Home Office. He has cost the taxpayer millions.”
Mr Azad was jailed on 23rd April at Manchester Crown Court. He admitted a total of 34 specimen charges including 13 offences of assisting unlawful immigration, possessing a stamp used for fraud and providing immigration services without the proper qualifications and 19 offences of forgery. This is not his first offence. Mr Azad previously ran a passport scam and was jailed back in 2002.
On his release he accepted a job with Councillor Khan as an administrator. However, Mr Azad would later take advantage of this relationship by posing as Mr Khan in his communications with Mr Stringer.
Mr Khan has since commented: “I thought that after going to prison the first time he would have learnt his lesson so I feel very saddened by this.”
Mr Stringer also said: “I put down a couple of early day motions about him because he was bent as a nine bob note.”
He was also given a suspended sentence in 2008 for the provision of immigration services without the necessary qualifications.
Handing down sentence in April, Judge Roger Thomas stated that Azad was central to an “Industry” which made the vulnerable people’s situations “worse”. He also commented on Azad’s “streak of dishonesty”.