Author Topic: Foreign criminal who faked own death brings human rights claim  (Read 1064 times)

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Foreign criminal who faked own death brings human rights claim

Ecuadorean man in £850,000 con says deporting him from Britain will breach his 'right to private and family life'
 HJS, now 59, took out a £500,000 life insurance policy, run up large debts on seven credit cards and took out a series of personal loans before faking his own death Photo: GEOFF PUGH

 By David Barrett, Home Affairs Correspondent
8:00PM BST 28 Jul 2014

 A foreign criminal who faked his own death in an £850,000 life insurance scam is attempting to use human rights laws to avoid being deported.
The Ecuadorean fraudster, who can only be identified by the initials ‘HJS’, was handed a five year jail term after his plot was uncovered.
In a case which raises yet more concerns about the way human rights legislation is operating, HJS, now 59, took out a £500,000 life insurance policy, run up large debts on seven credit cards and took out a series of personal loans.
In January 2005, his wife ‘SL’ contacted his employers to inform them he had suffered a fatal heart attack on holiday in Ecuador.
The policy was paid out and the debts were cancelled after she handed over copies of his death and cremation certificates.
The wife also received a £112,000 “death in service” payment from her husband’s employer, and began drawing a widow’s pension.
But investigators unravelled the scam after becoming suspicious and discovering that HJS’s fingerprints were on a copy of his own death certificate.
In 2011 HJS was extradited from Australia, where he had fled to start a new life under an assumed identity.
The father-of-four was jailed at Oxford Crown Court in 2012 after he was convicted of fraud totalling £850,000.
The following year Theresa May, the Home Secretary, decided he should be removed from Britain under rules which state that any foreign criminal jailed for more than 12 months is subject to “automatic deportation”.
HJS - who lived in Farnham, Surrey, before the fraud plot - appealed against the Home Secretary’s decision.
He claimed being deported would breach his right to private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. He also claimed asylum and argued that he would face ill-treatment in his home country in breach of Article 3 of the Convention.
Immigration judges rejected his case but HJS appealed again to the Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber.
Judges again rejected his asylum and Article 3 claims, but said the lower court’s decision on Article 8 was “fatally flawed”.
The case will now be heard again, raising the prospect that HJS will overturn Mrs May’s decision and be allowed to stay in Britain indefinitely.
SL was also jailed for two years after admitting her role in the plot.
Both fraudsters were named during their criminal trials, but immigration judges have imposed lifetime reporting restrictions on their names, meaning they now cannot be identified.
Dominic Raab, the Conservative MP who is campaigning to reform human rights laws, said: "It's crazy that, yet again, the immigration tribunal is allowing a convicted frauster who abandoned his family to claim a right to family life to trump the public interest in seeing him removed from Britain.
“Worse still, the tribunal is airbrushing details of the individual, eroding the principle of open justice, which is vital to retaining public confidence. "
HJS first came in January 1990 using his brother’s passport, but was discovered by immigration officers and removed the next day to Ecuador.
In 1991 he married SL in Ecuador and came here as the spouse of a British citizen the following year – again using his brother’s passport .
He was granted indefinite leave to remain and won British citizenship under his brother’s identity in 1999. Two years later he changed his name by deed poll back to his real name and was issued with a new British passport.
However, it was revoked by the Home Office after it emerged he had obtained the document fraudulently.
A Home Office spokesman said: “We remain at appeal and will be advised by the tribunal about a new hearing date in due course.”

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