A Birmingham pastor forged documents in a bid to help foreign nationals enter the UK illegally and prevent others from being deported, it has been revealed.
David Morrison, a pastor at the Word Life Centre, in Newtown, admitted forging documents and offering unqualified immigration advice.
He acted as a sponsor for several foreign nationals, representing their cases at Immigration Appeal Tribunals even though he was not legally registered to do so.
Morrison, of Lindridge Road, Erdington, also forged a bank statement to show he had more than £150,000 in his account when acting as a sponsor, when in fact his account had been closed, and he owed the bank £900.
The 41-year-old was arrested in April by officers from the UK Border Agency’s West Midlands immigration crime team.
He pleaded guilty to providing false representation in immigration cases at Birmingham Crown Court last week, having previously pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice. He was unavailable for comment.
A neighbour, who did not want to be named, described him as “decent” and was shocked to hear of his fraud. “The family are nice to talk to but keep to themselves,” she added.
The Word Life Centre website said that in July 2009 Morrison began to “publicly share what God had placed on his heart concerning opening 100 churches around the world by 2015”.
It adds that churches will soon be open in Kenya, Jamaica, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. Some of the foreign nationals which Morrison sponsored student visa applications for were from Jamaica and Nigeria. A man calling himself Pastor Frank, from Birmingham’s Word Life Centre, said he knew nothing about Morrison’s immigration fraud.
Detective Constable Chris Aldridge, from the UK Border Agency’s immigration crime team, said: “This man used what should be a respected position in the community to try and help foreign nationals with no right to be in the UK enter this country.”
Morrison was released on bail pending pre-sentence reports.
He is due to be sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court on January 10, 2011.