Three former immigration consultants have received 18-month sentences and will have to pay large fines for their roles in B.C.'s biggest-ever immigration fraud scheme.
Jin (Fanny) Ma, Wen (Vivian)Jiang and Ming Kun (Makkie) Wu were sentenced under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Income Tax Act and the criminal code Tuesday afternoon in a Vancouver courtroom.
The women are former employees of Xun (Sunny) Wang and New Can Consultants and had pleaded guilty to several charges including passport offences, misrepresentation, forgery and tax evasion.
Wang was charged in October 2012, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven years in prison and fined $900,000 in one of the biggest immigration scams in Canadian history
A total of nine of Wang's employees were charged. Three others are going through the courts and the last three have warrants out for their arrest.
In addition to the 18-month sentences in provincial jail, the women will have to pay fines assessed on their crimes.
In a statement, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) says the women "financially gained by committing fraud for their clients, did not report their income to the Canada Revenue Agency and applied for tax credits to which they were not entitled."
Ma has been fined $96,000. Jiang $74,000 and Wu $50,000.
The crown had asked for three-year sentences.
The long and complex investigation began in 2012 after immigration employees in Alberta noticed that many permanent residence applicants had the same addresses in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.
Wang falsely used his own home in Richmond as an address for 114 of his clients who didn't live in Canada.
According to CBSA figures, over 1,647 clients of New Can Consulting paid approximately $10 million for fraudulent services over a seven-year period from 2006-2013.
The consultants created fake patterns of Canadian residency to help their clients meet residency requirements for permanent residence and Canadian citizenship.
They had an elaborate scheme to obtain stamps in passports for fictitious travel dates. They also falsified employment information.
In updated figures supplied to the CBC, the CBSA alleges 373 of Wang's former customers obtained permanent residency under false pretenses. And more than 200 others may have lied in order to become Canadian citizens.
Many deportation orders issued
The CBSA says another 456 ex-clients remain under investigation, while 236 have "lost status through other processes," including voluntarily giving up their permanent residency or Canadian citizenship.
That brings the total number of people deported or facing possible deportation to more than 1,300.
So far, 71 removal orders have been issued, but some are pending appeals.
A total of 27 have been removed from Canada, according to the agency.
In an interview after the sentencing, Harald Wuigk, CBSA's assistant director of criminal investigations said it "sends a serious message … to persons who try to contravene Canada's border laws."
"This is a serious case and it involves the integrity of Canada's immigration system. The Canada border services agency takes these violations very seriously and takes great pains to investigate and recommend for prosecution such cases," he said.