22 Jan 2014

Man jailed for immigration rorts

9:30 pm on 22 January 2014

A judge has strongly condemned the actions of a South Auckland man jailed for illegally giving immigration advice.

Judge Eddie Paul says Hakaoro Hakaoro was well aware that what he was doing was wrong, but did it anyway to gain from vulnerable people.

In October last year, the 54-year-old admitted six charges of giving advice without a licence and appeared in the Manukau District Court on Wednesday for sentencing.

Judge Paul jailed him for 20 months, which included punishment for another charge of pretending to be an adviser.

The Crown says Hakaoro unlawfully got $13,300 from three families and the offending from 2009 to 2010 was commercially motivated and pre-meditated.

Judge Paul told Hakaoro that his victims feel betrayed.

"Some of the advice you gave your victims was in fact untrue and some of the applications you said you had filed on their behalf had in fact not been filed at all. Your behaviour in doing that to these vulnerable people is disgraceful."

Hakaoro last year lost the licence he applied for and got after being charged. He will have to start paying reparations once released from jail, but it will amount to less than half of what he took from the families. He has been ordered to pay $5000 at $20 a week over five years.

The sentencing brings an end to one of the largest prosecutions by the Immigration Advisers Authority which says the success of its case hinged on Pacific people speaking out and working with its investigators.

Outside court, Heilala Kautai said her family lost about $4000 and she never wants to deal with an immigration adviser again as she is too scared to trust them.