OTTAWA (Diya TV) — Brijesh Kumar Mishra, an immigration consultant from India, could face the death penalty upon his return to India after serving a three-year sentence in Canada for immigration fraud. Mishra, 37, pled guilty on May 29 to three of five charges related to producing fraudulent documents for Indian students seeking to study in Canada.

In Vancouver Provincial Court, Judge Susan Sangha sentenced Mishra to three years in prison for his role in the scheme, which included producing fake letters from Canadian post-secondary institutions and falsifying financial documents. Having already served part of his sentence, Mishra now has 19 months left. His plea deal, which was part of a joint recommendation from the Crown and defense, allowed his sentences to run concurrently. If served consecutively, he could have faced up to 12 years in prison and $400,000 in fines.

Mishra’s legal troubles are far from over. As a foreign national with an expired visitor visa, he is subject to deportation. His defense lawyer, Gagan Nahal, mentioned that given the time he has already spent in jail, Mishra could be paroled and deported as soon as three weeks from now. Nahal highlighted the likelihood of Mishra’s arrest upon arrival in India, where he faces six criminal charges, including one for human trafficking, which carries a potential death sentence.

Judge Sangha criticized Mishra for exploiting vulnerable individuals seeking a better life in Canada. “You took advantage of innocent, vulnerable people trying to find a better life in Canada,” she said. Mishra expressed remorse before his sentencing, stating, “I am sorry. I can’t change the past.” His lawyer noted that Mishra showed genuine remorse and did not deny his actions.

Mishra’s fraudulent activities, conducted between January 2016 and February 2020 in Jalandhar, Punjab, had severe consequences for many Indian students. Some arrived in Canada only to find that the promised school placements did not exist. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) charged Mishra on June 23, 2023, after a comprehensive investigation revealed that he was offering immigration advice without proper licensing and inducing clients to misrepresent information to Canadian authorities.

The scam affected hundreds of Indian students, primarily from Punjab, who faced potential deportation after discovering their offer letters were fake. Mishra, who charged an average of Rs 16 lakh per student for visa services and college admissions, often misled students upon their arrival in Canada. He would inform them that the colleges listed in the offer letters had no available seats and advise them to seek admission elsewhere or wait for the next intake. In some cases, he returned the college fees, but in many, he did not.

In March 2023, Jalandhar police registered a case against Mishra and his partners under several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The investigation was later transferred to the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit, and Jalandhar district authorities revoked his consultancy’s license.

Mishra’s fraudulent activities prompted a response from Canada’s federal Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser, who assured that students genuinely unaware of the fraud would be allowed to remain in Canada. A task force will conduct case-by-case analyses of the removal orders based on fraudulent acceptance letters.