NZ lawyer behind bars for fake immigration services
A lawyer posing as an immigration advisor in New Zealand has been handed a three-and-a-half year jail sentence. Richard James Martin, 49, was found guilty of 93 charges of immigration-related crimes. Through his company Richard Martin Immigration Limited Martin offered advice on immigration to 10 families between 2009 and 2010.
Auckland District Court heard how the struck off lawyer forged lawyers’ signatures and used his company’s immigration advisors to sign off visa applications of clients even though they had never met them.
In 2009 Martin was charged with using documents to gain pecuniary advantage and sentenced to home detention. The offence included stealing $17,850. He was told he could no longer practice as a lawyer.
Gary Gotlieb, Martin’s lawyer, said his client had lost everything - his marriage, career and reputation. He added that Martin had been a Law Society representative overseas and had been looking after his elderly parents.
Although psychiatric reports indicated that Martin may have been suffering from depression Judge Mary-Beth Sharp said she could not justify discounting his sentence. The Judge acknowledge the pain caused to both lawyers and Martin’s clients adding that she had no choice but to order a sentence of imprisonment.
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