Eliza Lazaro, a Filipina and former live-in caregiver, has been jailed for exploiting people from the Philippines, who wanted to immigrate to Canada.
Judge James Stribopoulos of the Ontario Court of Justice sentenced Lazaro to 11 months in prison.
The judge also ordered her to pay $23,5000 in compensation to her victims.
“She lied to them, cheated them, and, in some cases, even threatened them. By doing so, not only did she harm the very vulnerable people who she promised to help, she also repeatedly subverted the integrity of Canada’s immigration system,” said Stribopoulos in sentencing the former nanny.
After five years of deceiving would-be immigrants from the Philippines, Lazaro was arrested last year.
Lazaro pleaded guilty to seven counts of violating the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
A report by the National Post newspaper notes that the sentence against Lazaro was “designed to thwart a wave of bogus immigration consulting”.
According to the report, Lazaro posed as an immigration consultant who could find employment and handle paperwork for would-be immigrants.
However, she forged paperwork to create make-believe employers for upfront fees that allowed her victims to get visas to Canada.
Stribopoulos noted that Lazaro was in a special position to sympathize with the migrants and their desire to start a new life in Canada because their circumstances so closely mirrored her own, the National Post reported.
According to the report, Lazaro arrived in Canada in 1990 at the age of 24 as a live-in caregiver from the Philippines.
After three years at that job, the National Post reported, Lazaro moved on to other employment, including selling insurance.
In 2008 she began offering services as an immigration consultant, but was never licensed to do this work with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council, the National Post reported.
The National Post reported that one woman from the Philippines paid Lazaro $5,000 to come to Canada as a nanny. However, there was no job waiting for the woman.
A man arrived in Canada after paying Lazaro $4,500, but discovered there was no employment for him.
The National Post also reported that another migrant paid $5,000 and was given fake employer information. The would-be migrant was stopped at the border and deported.
One woman paid Lazaro $10,000 to bring her two nieces to Canada as worm pickers, but Lazaro did nothing to help them, the newspaper reported.
A woman from Saudi Arabia paid Lazaro $4,500 but when she arrived she found no job waiting, the paper reported.
The judge noted that her victims were legitimate migrants, the National Post reported.