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Sentence for wife of refugee fraud criminal Thursday, 24 May 2018

A Fijian national has been sentenced after earlier pleading guilty to visa fraud associated with her husband, who obtained residence after making up a story that his family was massacred by a group of Bangladeshi.

Aneela Wati was sentenced to nine months home detention and 120 hours community work at the Tauranga District Court today on a charge under the Immigration Act 1987 of knowingly producing a visa that had been obtained fraudulently.

Wati’s husband, Satya Nand, was sentenced earlier this year to 29 months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to a representative charge under the Crimes Act 1961 of using false documentation to obtain a benefit.

Fijian resident sentenced for refugee fraud

Nand managed to obtain New Zealand residence then citizenship by creating a new identity and making up a story that he arrived in New Zealand as a stowaway after his entire family was killed. He obtained identity documents in his false name and used documentation to obtain benefits for himself, his wife and their children.

Once Nand had obtained residence and citizenship, Wati obtained a residence visa for her and three of their children by remarrying Nand and pretending that she didn’t know him previously.

In 2004 when Wati arrived at Auckland International Airport, she presented her resident visa to gain entry despite knowing the document, and her children’s visas, had been obtained fraudulently. In this way she supported her husband’s offending by maintaining his false identity to obtain visas for herself and the children to enter New Zealand.  

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) Assistant General Manager, Peter Devoy, says the fraudulent behaviour demonstrated by the couple will not be tolerated.

“The family had an elaborate story about Nand’s fabricated refugee past and his dream of living in New Zealand. These actions were despicable, especially considering the suffering many genuine refugees experience,” Mr Devoy says.

“As with all visa applications, the responsibility is on the applicant to ensure they provide genuine and accurate information as part of their visa application. The officers involved in this case worked diligently to identify the fraud that led to this case coming to court."

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