Immigration Adviser who used forged documents, supplying false information and forgery is sentenced to home detention.
A Waikato woman who admitted 284 immigration fraud charges has avoided jailed.
Loraine Anne Jayme, also known as Condor, appeared in the Hamilton District Court today after earlier admitting the charges, which relate to her creating fake jobs and fake companies so 17 Filipinos could get work on farms in New Zealand.
Judge Kim Saunders today sentenced Jayme to 11 months and two weeks' home detention. The judge took into account emails given to the court this morning showing evidence of Jayme instructing applicants how to deceive Immigration NZ.
"You have been involved in the A to Z in committing fraud to ensure that the temporary work visas were issued to 17 migrant workers from New Zealand," Saunders said.
Jayme was supported in court by a number of people, including her husband, Vincent, and other members of the Filipino community. Counsel Roger Laybourn said Jayme was a well respected member of the Filipino community, who describe her as "kind and charitable".
"If you look at the facts it makes it almost incomprehensible that Mrs Jayme has somehow found herself in an extensive and complicated fraud case."
Laybourn said his client got caught up in the fraud for "altruistic reasons" - she wanted to help people. He disputed Immigration's submission that it was for commercial gain. It was initially to help family and close friends into the country, however, as news of her success in such endeavours spread, many others contacted her asking for assistance.
The market rate for such services from immigration consultants was roughly around $15,000 per person, and Jayme was offering a much cheaper fee. While she was not financially motivated, she had benefited to the tune of $38,250.
Her original sentencing date in October had to be adjourned because she was pregnant and had been experiencing health difficulties. Her baby, now four months old, was born two months early.
Speaking after the sentencing, INZ assistant general manager Peter Devoy said the prosecution was the result of "painstaking work".
"The officers involved did a fantastic job in gathering evidence which led to the prosecution. Jayme systematically ripped off vulnerable migrant workers."
About 1700 Filipinos are working on dairy farms in New Zealand.
He said the offending began when there was a significant downturn in farming conditions with the dairy payout, with job offers "evaporating" or being withdrawn, yet a steady number of Filipino applicants still expected to come to New Zealand.
Laybourn said as a result of Jayme's fraud, the migrants have ended up with a better life in New Zealand. Laybourn said it was a case of "incredible complexity", and it took him two months to get his head around the 284 charges. Jayme was also genuinely remorseful and had a positive pre-sentence report.
He urged Judge Saunders to hand down a sentence of home detention because of the medical difficulties Jayme and her baby suffered. Jayme's fraud had to be elaborate to convince Immigration officials that the jobs couldn't be filled by Kiwis.
The lawyer acting for the Ministry of Business and Employment, Catherine Milnes, said it was not simply about the $38,000 the scheme earned Jayme. Jayme charged 17 Filipinos $2250 - equivalent to 76,000 Filipino pesos - for work visas. The average monthly wage in the Philippines is 9508 pesos.
"So the 76,000 pesos was the equivalent of eight months' wages and [some] had to be borrowed at a very high lending rate. This was a fact known by Jayme."
She created three fake companies, AJM Farming, Kinvarra Farms and Mathan Farms and then set about creating the fake documentation to go with them, eventually pulling the wool over the eyes of Work and Income and Inland Revenue Department.
However, her fraud began to unfold in 2014 when farmers started telling her that the employees weren't as skilled as their CVs purported. She was eventually arrested in October 2015. Sometime after that, Jayme became pregnant.
She was due to be sentenced in October 2016, but it was adjourned. Jayme's baby was born two months early in December and spent her first two months in Waikato Hospital's Newborn Intensive Care Unit.
Jayme told the Herald she believed Immigration NZ would think the baby was planned. However, it was not in her religion to use contraception.
"We were not really planning to have any more kids. But I got pregnant. We're not doing any pregnancy prevention, we [Filipinos] don't do that."
Outside court, husband, Vincent told the Herald he was relieved his wife avoided prison. "We are definitely happy."
He said their primary concern was for their baby, Karys. "That's the main thing. It's all about the kids, it's not about us, it's not about Loraine. It's always about Karys."
Laybourn told awaiting media that his client was "portrayed as a predator with a financial motive". "So I think the satisfying thing is the court did accept that it wasn't primarily commercially motivated. She never disputed the extent of her fraud but she got caught up in a situation where she had huge demand from Filipinos and halfway through the process it got out of control."
He believed the sentence was fair.
"Because the judge was trying to send a message that this is serious, and it is serious, and I'm really pleased the court sees that home detention is not a soft option. It actually is 24-7, it's a signficiant sentence and she has to contribute to the community with community work."
Immigration New Zealand assistant general manager Peter Devoy said today marked the end of an investigation into a complex and serious fraud.
"The situation from our point of view is that the victim here is very much the New Zealand citizen. It's the systems that immigration have in place to protect New Zealand, to protect the border, which have been the subject of the offending more so than the 17 victims named in the case."
Asked whether the sentence sent a deterrent message, Devoy said it did. "I think it does. The circumstances of the offender need to be taken into account and that's precisely what the judge did.
"However the message that was given is that this is severe offending and severe offending that won't be tolerated."