Struck-off solicitor jailed for more immigration offences

Mendes: Duped 19 victims

A solicitor struck off after being convicted of immigration law offences while suspended has now been jailed for seven and a half years for fraudulent immigration advice.

Flora Magadaline Mendes duped 19 victims into thinking they were using the services of a legitimate immigration lawyer and promised to help secure them leave to remain in the UK in return for payment.

In 14 cases, she tried to scam a scheme set up for immigrants affected by the Grenfell Tower fire, and in a further five, the Indian national, 45, sought to exploit a scheme set up for those affected by the Windrush scandal.

The Home Office said it had seized assets totalling more than £700,000 following Ms Mendes’s conviction.

When handing down sentence, the judge noted her repeat offending.

In 2015, Ms Mendes was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment on each of four counts of providing immigration advice or immigration services, to run concurrently and suspended for two years.

The offences occurred after the Solicitors Regulation Authority suspended her from practice in January 2013, following its intervention into her unregistered practice, Mendes Solicitors.

The judge at Luton Magistrates’ Court described “a trail of destruction towards vulnerable people she left in her wake as she continued to practise”.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal struck her off in 2016 as a result of the convictions. She qualified in 2009.

Andrew Radcliffe of the Home Office’s criminal and financial investigations team, said: “The strong sentence is testament to our efforts to clamp down on these unregulated advisers through targeted operations.”

Last year, the Home Office announced the professional enablers taskforce, which aims to clamp down on “crooked immigration lawyers” by working closely with regulators, industry bodies and law enforcement to bring prosecutions against them.

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