A gang of fraudsters were sentenced to 31 years for a £13 million tax and immigration scam.

Jalpa Trivedi, 41, an accountant of Cavan Road, St Albans, was jailed for three years for her part in a scam involving 900 bogus visa application.

Trivedi was part of a gang of five fraudsters who falsely claimed £13 million in tax repayments – they have been collectively sentenced to a total of more than 31 years in jail.

Trivedi, an ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) qualified accountant, enabled the fraud to happen by providing official letters certifying the amounts the visa applicants had supposedly invested in their businesses.

London law student Abul Kalam Muhammad from Dagenham (known as AKM) Rezaul Karim, 42, was the ringleader in the organised crime group.

He and his four accomplices set up 79 bogus companies and created fake documentation which was used by Bangladeshi nationals in fraudulent visa applications.

The immigration fraud was uncovered in 2011 when the Home Office identified a suspicious pattern in a series of points-based applications for visas.

Home Office caseworkers noticed that several applications were being submitted using slight variations of the same company names.

Officers found that Karim, his brother-in-law Enamul Karim, 34, Kazi Borkot Ullah, 39, Trivedi, 41 and Mohammed Tamij Uddin, 47, charged some clients on temporary visas wanting to remain in the UK a minimum of £700 in cash for their fraudulent immigration services.

Karim and his accomplices were arrested on 26 February 2013.

They were found guilty on November 16 after a trial that lasted 35 weeks at Southwark Crown Court.

AKM Karim, Enamul Karim and Ullah, absconded in July 2018 during the trial.

The defendants were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on 23 November 2018. AKM Karim, Enamul Karim and Ullah, were convicted in their absence and warrants have been issued for their arrests.

AKM Karim got 10 years and six months, Enamul Karim nine years and four months and Ullah five years and ten months.

Trivedi was handed a three-year jail sentence and Uddin two years and six months.