Jail for former jockey who smuggled immigrants

Written by Peter Davison on .

Swindon Crown CourtSwindon Crown CourtA former jockey who ran a business arranging for illegal immigrants to come into the country has been jailed for five years.

Ronald Wali brought people into the UK or arranged for them to get visas so they could stay under the pretext of having jobs working in race horse stables.

But in reality the positions never existed and the 'employers' were not aware of what was going on.

And when police raided the 45-year-old's home they found sheaves of headed notepaper with forged signatures which he used to cheat the system.

Robert Duval, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how certain workers from outside the European Economic Area could get jobs here if sponsored by employers.

The scheme is highly regulated by the Home Office and, once taken on, the bosses had various responsibilities for their staff.

Wali, who was well known in racing circles, offered to help trainers get Indian stable hands and also assisted them in filling in the complicated forms.

But he abused their trust to get his hands on important computer passwords used by the employers to access the online portal, along with their headed notepaper.

He then used them to make a string of bogus applications claiming his clients were working in fictitious jobs at stables across the South of England.

When the trainers were spoken to none had heard of the people said to have working for them and said the jobs they were supposed to be doing did not exist.

Mr Duval said "He facilitated fraudulent applications by these applicants either to enter or to remain illegally in the UK by assigning these false certificates of sponsorship certificating the existence of employment that did not exist."

Among the victims were Alan King, at Barbury Castle; Marlborough based Richard Hannon, Sylvester Kirk in Lambourn, Fernham Farm in Faringdon, as well as yards in Kent, Dorset, Hampshire and the Newmarket area.

Although it can be proved he got ten people from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Mauritius get into the country there is evidence he provided help to more than 100 others.

Mr Duval said he was providing a service helping illegal immigrants and because of the position they are now in it was very difficult to track them down.

It is also not clear how much he was paid for what he did though there were notes suggesting up to £5,000 a person and more than £35,000 in cash was found in his house.

Wali, of Curtis Street, Swindon admitted ten counts of assisting unlawful immigration, having articles for use in fraud and providing an immigration service when not qualified.

Hi wife Bharati, 41, was also charged but the case against her was dropped when her husband pleaded guilty.

Keith Hadrill, for Ronald Wali, said his client, who is from India, had been in Britain for 17 years and has UK citizenship.

He first lived in the Newmarket racing centre, working as a jockey with the proper credentials, before coming to Swindon a few years ago where he lives with his family.

The couple have two daughters, one aged 23 who is married and lives in the area and a 19-year-old who is still at home.

An earlier hearing was told he works for Roger Charlton at his Beckhampton House Stables, near Marlborough.

Mr Hadrill said his client had tried to help trainers when they needed staff but fell into dishonesty as he tried to assist people getting work.

Jailing him Judge Peter Blair QC said "The courts take a very clear view about how important it is immigration law is respected and properly followed, and sentences are passed by the court to deter other people from trying to facilitate these breaches of immigration law by passing very harsh sentences, and you will receive one today."