An Auckland-based couple, Vikram Madaan and Susheel Madaan, along with three companies linked to their family, have been sentenced to 10-and-a-half months' home detention on charges of immigration fraud and migrant exploitation. The charges were filed after an investigation initiated on anonymous tip-offs received by CrimeStoppers in 2017 and 2018. Though the case was filed in the Manukau District Court in July 2020, Immigration New Zealand cited low staffing levels and the complexity of several ongoing investigations as factors causing the delay.
According to Immigration New Zealand, the couple provided fake and deceitful information to the agency while making visa applications. Additionally, they were found guilty of paying temporary employees below the minimum wage over extended periods, collectively underpaying the workers by substantial amounts during their employment. National Manager for Investigations, Stephanie Greathead, stressed that no form of exploitation is tolerable in New Zealand. She further stated that the convictions of the Madaans and the ensuing punishment should serve as a stern warning to any person considering employing migrants who are not entitled to work or exploiting unlawful migrants.
At the Manukau District Court, Judge June Jelas sentenced both offenders to three years of imprisonment. However, they were awarded a 45% reduction for the guilty pleas, good character, and continued support of family members and the community, for the reparation they paid and other mitigating factors. The final sentence translated to 21 months of imprisonment or 10.5 months of home detention to be served by each offender.
Throughout the trial, the victims were supportive of the proceedings and have not left New Zealand.
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