Fake immigration adviser sentenced

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

A woman who posed as an immigration adviser and took cash from people and falsely promised them jobs has been sentenced to 10 months home detention and ordered to pay more than $70,000 to her victims.

Uluata Ekuale, also known as Ata Utai, pleaded guilty to charges of supplying false information to an immigration office, obtaining by deception and providing immigration advice without a licence.

The conviction comes with a penalty of 10 months' home detention and an order to pay $70,630 in reparation to her 16 victims.

Her arrest came after a lengthy investigation.

Immigration New Zealand's acting fraud and compliance manager Dean Blakemore said the sentence reflected the seriousness of her offending and the impact it had on those who trusted her.

"Uluata Ekuale made significant financial gains by taking advantage of vulnerable people from her own Samoan community," he said.

"Immigration New Zealand will not tolerate this type of offending, and the sentence imposed today shows that those undertaking such activities will face severe consequences."

The law requires anyone giving immigration advice to have a licence from the Immigration Advisers Authority unless they are exempt.

Exempt people include lawyers and employees of the Citizens Advice Bureau.

- nzherald.co.nz

- APNZ

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