A fraudster who earned millions by contriving sham marriages, fake university degrees and false English test results for immigrants seeking Australian visas has been jailed.
Gary Zhou was sentenced to four years and seven months’ jail in the County Court of Victoria on Tuesday after he was identified as a facilitator of large-scale migration fraud.
It’s estimated Zhou charged between $10,000 and $100,000 for counterfeit documents and dealt with more than 1000 clients – most of whom are suspected of receiving forged paperwork.
An exact figure earned by Zhou was not available when AAP contacted the Department of Immigration.
Following a joint Immigration and Australian Federal Police investigation, Zhou was charged with offences relating to conspiracy to defraud and control of forged documents.
Search warrants uncovered evidence of false documents in applications for visas under the general skilled migration program and other visa programs, a statement from the Department of Immigration said on Tuesday.
The scam involved the provision of false Australian university degrees, including statements of results and letters of completion.
Other fraudulent documents included false international English language test results, false work references and documents in relation to arranging contrived marriages for immigration purposes.
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morrison said the conviction was a reminder the department and courts will act against those who attempt to defraud the nation’s migration programs.
“Anyone found to have obtained a visa based on fraudulent information can expect to face visa refusal or cancellation and prosecution,” he said.