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Recruitment Boss Jailed In Visa Fraud Trial

September 9, 2011

Sam Fongho gets 30 months in prison and?is looking at?a?massive financial confiscation order & costs

The former head of recruitment and business development at north London NVQ training school Concept Care Solutions has been sentenced today at Southwark Crown Court to thirty months behind bars and faces a?potential financial penalty of over ?340-K.

Fongho had been convicted back in early August on one charge of falsifying references of applicants for British work permits after a trial that lasted two months. A charge of corrupting an entry clearance officer (ECO) at the British embassy in Tirana, Albania was dropped halfway through the trial.

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Fongho's co-defendant, former diplomat and ECO Mark Griffith, was cleared of two charges of misconduct with another?similar charge being dropped halfway through the trial.

Sentenced by Judge Pegden QC to two and a half years in prison, Fongho was also told he faces a confiscation order and an order to pay the prosecution costs will also be made. This will happen in March next year.

Potentially, Fongho could face a bill in excess of ?340,000GBP of prosecution costs and confiscation. This is because the trial itself lasted 8 weeks, the prosecution team consisting of a leading barrister, junior barrister and an instructing?solicitor. This is without taking into account the prosecution's preparation costs and the court costs.

If the trial judge goes for maximum confiscation, there were 64 visas mentioned during the trial with an average charge to the applicants of ?4,000GBP.? However, Judge Pegden did say that the financial benefit to Fongho for the crime of which he was convicted was in the tens of thousands of pounds only.

As Fongho contemplates his first of many nights behind bars, he must be ruefully contemplating the fact that he was only in court as a result of an accident.

Not the target of an investigation, his activities only came to the notice of the authorities as a result of a row between the diplomat and an immigration officer at London's Gatwick airport in 2007.

What looks to have been attempt at a cover-up by the British Foreign Office at the diplomat's dismissal from service led the police and UK Borders Agency to Sam Fongho's door, and the eventual trial and conviction.

Original Trial Report


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