22 Feb 2013

Woman pleads guilty to part in immigration scam

10:03 am on 22 February 2013

An unlicensed immigration adviser has admitted her part in a widespread immigration scam in Auckland's Tongan community.

Khadijah Lolohea, a38-year-old Tongan national, has pleaded guilty in the Auckland District Court to nine charges of providing immigration advice without a licence.

The Immigration Advisers Authority brought the charges and says it is a significant result.

The authority says the 12 Tongan victims including three couples had to trust that reporting Lolohea would not lead to them being deported or hurt their chances of getting visas to stay in New Zealand.

One of the lawyers for the victims, Amelia Schaaf, says Lolohea did a lot of damage in taking money her Tongan victims couldn't afford, making their immigration problems worse and turning some of them into overstayers. Ms Schaaf says there were more victims than the 12 whose cases went to court.

Lolohea, also known as Kadijah Piu, is due to be sentenced on 23 May.