A member of CILEX has been permanently excluded from the institute following her convictions for fraud and providing unqualified immigration advice.
A year ago, Choice Chido Dzviti ,43, and Sherman Dzviti, 42, who traded as CS Legal Consultants, CS Law Ltd and Casson Law were found guilty at Southwark Crown Court.
Mrs Dzviti was found guilty of two counts of fraud, five counts of providing unqualified immigration advice and four counts of providing unqualified immigration services while her husband was found guilty of two counts of providing unqualified immigration advice and one count of providing unqualified service.
Mrs Dzviti received a two-year prison sentence and ordered to pay £26,951 in compensation to five victims. Mr Dzviti was given a community sentence of 200 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay compensation of £1,300.
The court heard that many of the complainants handed over large amounts of money and legal documents such as birth certificates and passports. The Dzvitis refused to hand them back or even to speak to the complainants, leading to one contacting the Legal Ombudsman.
His Honour Judge Perrins commented, “Choice Dzviti, your offending spans several years. You ignored the findings of the First-Tier Tribunal. You deliberately misled the firm of solicitors supervising.
“You preyed on people who were especially vulnerable – and two of them you deliberately defrauded of significant amounts of money. You provided negligent advice and woeful client care.
“Sherman Dzviti, you were much less involved – but it cannot be said that the quality of your services was any better.”
The CILEx Regulation Disciplinary Tribunal outlined the fraud convictions. In 2014, Mrs Dzviti told a client that the £4,200 he paid in cash would be used to pay the Home Office fee for his immigration application, when she knew an application for a fee waiver would instead be made on his behalf.
Then, in 2016, she falsely told another client that she would submit an application for leave to remain on her behalf.
Mrs Dzviti was initially an associate member of CILEX and later a graduate member. She was also found to have failed to declare to CILEx Regulation – when renewing her membership and applying for fellowship status in 2020 – that she was under investigation by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).
Further, she provided a false account of her prior conduct and a false explanation of the circumstances surrounding the OISC investigation.
The tribunal ordered Mrs Dzviti’s immediate exclusion from CILEX membership for an indefinite period – the equivalent of a solicitor being struck off the roll – with a direction that there be no application for readmission for a minimum of 10 years.
Immigration is the only area of law which is not one of the reserved legal activities but is subject to a standalone regulatory regime that allows non-lawyers to practise in it, overseen by OISC.