Surrey: Brijesh Mishra, clad in a red jumpsuit, stood before a Vancouver courtroom, confessing to a series of Canadian immigration offenses. The 37-year-old was apprehended following a Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) investigation linking him to numerous fraudulent acceptance letters for Canadian educational institutions. These documents were provided to prospective international students from India between 2016 and 2020.

Mishra pleaded guilty to three charges under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, including misrepresentation and disseminating false information. “I’m sorry,” Mishra expressed to the courtroom, acknowledging his inability to alter the past but affirming his commitment to avoiding similar actions in the future.

His arrest in Surrey, B.C. in June 2023 occurred while he was on an expired tourist visa. Crown and defense lawyers jointly recommended a three-year prison sentence, which the judge deemed sufficient. With credit for time served since his arrest, Mishra faces an additional 19 months behind bars.

Gagan Nahal, Mishra’s defense lawyer, noted his client’s genuine remorse, emphasizing that Mishra chose not to pursue a trial. During the CBSA’s investigation, twelve victims came forward. Mishra is slated for deportation to India after completing his Canadian sentence, where he confronts further criminal charges, including human smuggling under the Punjab Travel Act, punishable by death.

The court heard a recurring modus operandi: Mishra targeted students from Punjab, promising admission to Canadian schools for a fee, then supplied counterfeit acceptance letters. Upon arrival in Canada, victims discovered their non-admittance and received varying responses from Mishra, including assistance in enrolling elsewhere or outright avoidance.

Allegations surfaced that Mishra’s family in India endured harassment from the families of his victims. The CBSA remains engaged in locating potential victims, prioritizing assistance for genuine students to continue their studies in Canada. Despite the absence of victims or their families in court, the federal Crown prosecutor abstained from comment.

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