Melbourne fake lawyer Marleen Charan avoids jail for $80,000 migration scam


While faking her job as an immigration lawyer, Marleen Charan scammed four clients out of nearly $80,000.

They thought she could help them apply for and obtain visas to live and work in Australiabut as soon as they paid, she cut off the contact.
She avoided jail when she was sentenced in the county To research Tuesday, six years after his fraud began.
A Melbourne mother who posed as an immigration lawyer and scammed foreign nationals out of thousands of dollars has avoided jail. (New)

The four are still strapped for cash and could be a while before they see any money, after her lawyer revealed she was collecting benefits and unable to repay.

Judge Duncan Allen ordered that she return the money if, in the future, she earns enough to be able to afford to compensate them for their losses.

Prosecutors noted that she never even offered to pay them back.

Charan’s first victim lost $10,500 after falsely claiming she was an attorney who would provide an immigration law program to the victim, after which she would sponsor a visa application.

The second victim lost $28,408 after Charan claimed to be a lawyer who could apply for her to become an Australian permanent resident.

A man lost $20,108 after being told by Charan that she could help him file a temporary work visa for his brother.

Charan also claimed she could provide the brother with employment assistance at a restaurant she was opening in Footscray.

While faking her job as an immigration lawyer, Marleen Charan scammed four clients out of nearly $80,000. (New)

His fourth victim paid $20,800 after representing himself as an attorney who could support them with a visa sponsorship.

After her offense between February 2016 and May 2017, Charan enrolled in a law degree at Victoria University, which she has since completed.

But it’s unlikely she’ll ever get a certificate to practice because of her beliefs.

Allen said it was ironic that since her offense, Charan has volunteered as a trained migration officer helping many people navigate the immigration system.

He said she provided immense assistance to Edward McHugh, securing his release from detention and helping to secure a Federal Court judgment that determined his detention was unlawful.

McHugh, who supported Charan in court, was brought up believing he was an Australian citizen, supported by the fact that he was registered to vote and had an Australian passport.

Fraudulent ‘mum’ text leads to Australian bank account

But he was adopted from the Cook Islands and after his visa was canceled attempts were made to deport him.

“I acknowledge his presence here today. It’s a great testament to the great work you’ve done, ironically, since that offensive behavior,” Allen said.

He acknowledged that she had experienced extreme hardship in her life and had not committed any prior or subsequent offences.

He ordered that she perform 250 hours of community service, receive mental health treatment and support, and be supervised for three years.

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