A north west London college principal honoured for her services to education lured overseas students into paying thousands of pounds in fees for fake courses, a court heard.
Roselle Antoine, who has been awarded an MBE, promised visas to overseas students if they enrolled at TCS Tutorial College.
But the courses were fake, the so-called qualifications were not worth the paper they were written on, and the students wasted years of study, leaving some more than £2,500 out of pocket, the jury at London’s Southwark Crown Court heard.
Ben Lloyd, prosecuting, told the court Antoine had been awarded an MBE for her services to education and not all of the students at the college were on fake courses.
“True as these things may be, they do not excuse the occasions when the line is crossed and the law is broken,” he said. “Whatever the status of the defendant, the defendant and the college exploited international students and their lack of understanding of the UK system.
Mr Lloyd told the jury of six men and six women that Antoine unlawfully provided potential overseas students with immigration advice and services, offering to arrange student visas for them between September 2001 and January 2007.
TCS Tutorial College “appears to have relied heavily on overseas students for its work and therefore for its fees”, he said.
Antoine provided the immigration advice and services “to permit the students to study at the college for as long as possible”, he said. “She did this, we say, so the students will be paying fees for as long as possible.”
The court heard the certificates gained by the students often simply celebrated its 10th anniversary, or the completion of a course, and “were not worth the paper they were written on”. Several were told that the exams were “next year” or “next month”, but never materialised.
Antoine, of Shelley Close, Greenford, Middlesex, denies eight counts of providing immigration advice when not qualified to do so and eight counts of providing immigration services when not qualified to do so. She also denies five counts of knowingly making a false statement and five counts of recklessly making a false statement.
Source: Press Association
Anyone giving immigration advice in the UK must be qualified and regulated, for example by the OISC or the Law Society.