Fake NZ immigration advisor found guilty and sentenced

Published:  8 Feb at 6 PM
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After a lengthy investigation resulted in her arrest for supplying false information, deception and fraud, Uluata Ekuale was found guilty on all counts.

Ekuale had posed as an immigration advisor and promised visas and jobs in exchange for cash payments as well as supplying immigration officials with false information and giving unlicensed immigration advice. According to the New Zealand Herald, her sentence combined 10 months’ home detention with an order to pay in excess of NZ$70,000 to her victims.

Dean Blakemore, acting compliance and fraud manager for New Zealand Immigration, stressed that Ekuale’s sentence was a reflection of the seriousness of her crimes and the impact they had on people who trusted the woman. Ekuale, he continued, worked mainly in her own Samoan community, defrauding her own people for significant financial gain.

Blakemore continued that NZ Immigration would not tolerate crimes of this type, and hoped that the severe sentence would discourage others from similar illegal activities within vulnerable minority communities. Those providing immigration advice for a fee are required to be licensed by the Immigration Advisors Authority, he said.

The only exemptions to the rule are advisor working with the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and lawyers qualified to practice. Ekuale’s trial and sentence is the latest in a line of similar prosecutions.
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