Under pressure from his mother in Fiji and his sick sister in Hamilton, a Palmerston North man committed immigration fraud by pretending to be his mother's nephew.
But unlike his mother, he will not go to jail for his crimes.
Mohammad Khan was sentenced in the Palmerston North District Court to 10 months' home detention for three charges of immigration fraud. They all relate to his mother, Kamla Wati, who was sentenced to 19 months' jail in January for her part in the fraud. Wati visited New Zealand three times between 2009 and 2012, but was declined residency on character grounds because of her history of shoplifting.
She was also denied a visa eight times, but managed to get back into New Zealand in 2015 by using a false passport she sourced in Fiji under the alias Rukhmanny.
She got Khan to fill in a character reference for her on some of the failed applications, and he did so again for the fraudulent application. He covered his tracks by saying he was his mother's nephew.
Prosecution lawyer Greg La Hood, from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, said Khan's offending was premeditated as he knew his mother had been declined eight times.
The pair worked together, and Khan knew it was a serious offence because he had to swear his character reference in front of a Justice of the Peace, La Hood said. "The reality is this is fraud, no matter what context you look at it in. It impacts the integrity of the immigration system, which relies heavily on honest disclosures. If people come in fraudulently, it impacts people who are honestly trying to come in and are unable to do so."
Defence lawyer Tony Thackery said Khan was put under pressure by his mother and sister. His sister was suffering from mental illness, and his mother wanted to get into New Zealand to look after her, Thackery said. "Yes, he helped his mother. She put the whole thing together to get into New Zealand and called on her son to assist with sponsorship." It was hard to show true remorse with charges such as immigration fraud because there was no tangible victim, Thackery said.
Judge Jim Large read from a pre-sentence report, in which the writer said Khan had commented he was in trouble for signing a "stupid piece of paper". "Immigration documents are not stupid pieces of paper," the judge said. "It was totally wrong of you. People in all sorts of roles in ministries and government departments rely on people to make honest declarations, and people who make false declarations do attack the integrity of the system."
The pressure from family and the fact he had young children were taken into account when calculating Khan's final sentence, the judge said.
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