Director of Immigration Jim Metcalfe: You often read about criminals taking advantage of the immigration system for their own gain, but this one takes the cake for longevity:
A Richmond, B.C., man who made millions helping hundreds of people file fraudulent immigration applications was sentenced to seven years in prison and fined more than $900,000 in provincial court today.
Crown prosecutor Jessica Patterson said Xun Wang, 46, received two fines — one for $187,000 and one for $730,000 — and she said the prison term will be reduced by several months for time already served….
According to court records Wang ran two profitable but unlicensed immigration consulting businesses in Vancouver from 2006 to 2014 called New Can Consultants Ltd. and Wellong International Investments Ltd.
What amazes me about this story is that it took 10 years from the start of the fraud to catch up to the perpetrator.
That the bad guys are abusing the system is no surprise, but you have to wonder how much due diligence the good guys are doing when vetting immigration applicants.
I’m making an educated guess that most of the files mentioned in the above case were processed at the Canadian embassy in Beijing or Hong Kong. Experience tells me that if local case officers were used, then the system was an easy mark for business immigration scammers.
One of the problems with business immigration cases is that Canadian officers need some knowledge of the way business is done and how the success or failure of a business is documented. I suspect very few of the applicants were interviewed. Even if they were, they may have been interviewed by local officers who knew the language but not generally how businesses operate. This would allow crooked applicants and their representatives to dazzle the officers with footwork during the interview.
I recall a case several years ago in which we had submitted a business applicant for consideration at the Canadian embassy in Beijing. The local officer called our client’s accountant and asked if she had prepared the 2010 financial statements in 2010. The accountant quite rightly responded no; obviously she prepared them in 2011 after the end of the calendar year. As a result of the officer’s lack of knowledge, we got a fairness letter accusing us of submitting fraudulent or misleading documents.
We responded that the accountant had provided the correct information. Had the officer simply asked “Why 2011?” she would’ve received the answer she was seeking.
We did eventually get the problem cleared up and our client’s application was approved. But this is one example of what can happen when officers don’t understand the nuances involved in business applications.
As for the case involving the scammer above, I suspect that this is only the tip of the iceberg. There will be other prosecutions in the future involving similar files.
There’s the old adage that you can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. Unfortunately, this fraud story indicates that you can fool a lot of the people a lot of the time.