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UK Immigration Law "Expert" Jailed For 15 Months For Fraud

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The reports a self-proclaimed UK immigration law "expert" who fleeced thousands of pounds out of vulnerable immigrants has been jailed for 15 months.

Cephas Matanhire, 50, of The Orchard, Ingleby Barwick in Cleveland, first owned a cleaning business in Middlesbrough - called Staff Scene Agency and Legal Advisors - and then set himself up as an immigration advisor.

Cephas Matanhire, 50, of The Orchard, Ingleby Barwick in Cleveland, first owned a cleaning business in Middlesbrough - called Staff Scene Agency and Legal Advisors - and then set himself up as an immigration advisor.

In the process, he falsely claimed he could help three African women and their families with visa applications and provide legal "advice", for which he charged a total of £7,728.

A probation report described Matanhire as "manipulative, unscrupulous, dishonest and deceitful" and said he was likely to commit further offences.

Andrew Bean, prosecuting, added: "The defendant was a charlatan who would offer his services to people who were often in a desperate position regarding immigration and asylum status and would take money from them, but do no work at all."

BBC's Inside Out programme finally outed Matanhire as a fraudster by filming him speaking to a reporter posing as a Sri Lankan requiring asylum advice.

At Teeside Crown Court, Matanhire admitted two counts of obtaining property by deception and one of fraud.

In defence, Andrew Turton said his client was "grasping at straws" to support his wife and three children and found himself completely out of his depth when it came to dealing with immigration advice and paperwork.

Sentencing him, however, Judge John Walford had no pity for the defendant: "You committed serious and mean offences.  You took money from desperate, vulnerable people on the pretext that you were going to help them, but you didn't."

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