Teesside Bogus Legal Adviser Jailed

22/01/2010

A fake legal adviser who promised people he could assist them with their immigration status has today been jailed for 15 months.

Cephas Matanhire, 50, set up a company based at Broadcasting House, Middlesbrough offering his customers assistance with their applications to remain in the UK.

He falsely claimed to be a legal expert and charged them for his help, but failed to provide any assistance.

Matanhire, who is originally from Zimbabwe and living in the UK legitimately, previously admitted three charges - two of obtaining property by deception and one of fraud. A total of nearly £8000 was involved.

His victims were of African descent and had applications being considered by the Home Office during 2006 and 2007.

Following today's sentencing at Teesside Crown Court, CPS Cleveland's District Crown Prosecutor Clare Donaldson said: "Matanhire's victims paid him for the legal expertise he claimed to have. They hoped he could help make their dreams come true, assisting them with their immigration applications. In reality, he was a conman, intent only on obtaining the little money they had.

"One of his victims was distraught when she found out. Money she was intending to spend on her son's education had instead been given to Matanhire in the belief that he could resolve his immigration status.

"Our prosecution team has worked extremely hard throughout this case to ensure Matanhire is held to account for his actions and brought before the courts. Today he paid for his crimes of dishonesty with his freedom.