13 June 2024

Auckland couple jailed for immigration fraud, migrant exploitation

An Auckland couple and their three associated companies have been sentenced on immigration fraud and migrant exploitation charges by the Manukau District Court.

Vikram Madaan and his wife Susheel Madaan (both 53) appeared at the district court yesterday (Tuesday) and their three companies pleaded guilty to 11 charges, out of which six offences related to providing false and misleading information to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) on work visa applications.  The other five  offences relate to exploitation of three Indian migrant workers the couple had employed.

The couple- Vikram and Susheel Madaan and their companies, Elegant Overseas Ltd, Indian Fashion & Kraft Ltd, and Blessing Overseas Ltd are in the business of importing Indian goods for sale online and through the family’s stores.  

Judge Jelas gave both offenders three years imprisonment with a discount of 45 per cent for their guilty pleas, good character, the reparation they paid, and showing ongoing support of family members and the community. 

As a result of this discount,  the sentence would be 21 months imprisonment or 10.5 months each to be served in home detention.   

Their companies were fined $4000 for three charges, and entered a conviction and discharge for all other charges. 

According to INZ, full reparation of over $91,000 has been repaid to the victims who were underpaid over their employment period – ranging from six months to one year. 

Stephanie Greathead, Immigration National Manager Investigations, says their investigation found the defendants provided false/misleading information to INZ when submitting visa applications and paid their temporary workers below the minimum wage over extended periods.

In the INZ’s original operation, it’s also alleged, for one of their migrant workers, the offenders sought and received a one-off cash payment from their staff for securing their employment.

“This conviction should act as a strong warning to anyone considering employing migrants who are not entitled to work or exploit temporary or unlawful migrants. No form of exploitation is acceptable in New Zealand, and you will be held to account,” Greathead says.

INZ was first alerted to this case in June 2017 via an anonymous tip off to Crime Stoppers.
Similar information was again received in October 2018. Due to staffing levels and a number
of complex investigations, INZ were, however, not able to initiate an investigation until January 2019.
As a result of the evidence found, charges were filed in the Manukau District court in July
2020.

 

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