Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Keith Low, 32, was sentenced today in the District Court of Western Australia after pleading guilty to 15 counts of accepting bribes to help foreign students applying for Australian residency. He will be eligible for parole in 12 months.
The court heard he had received about $25,000 for changing the results of students who had failed the English language test. He had admitted taking $1500 a pop to change test results using the passwords of co-workers at Curtin English Language Centre.
Eight other people pleaded guilty to a total of over 40 bribery offences committed as part of the $100,000-plus scam, including intermediaries who took larger cuts than Mr Low. The others were former students.
Three have received sentences ranging from a seven month suspended term to 12 months jail, with the others due to be sentenced tomorrow.
The offences occurred over a 10-month period in 2009-10, and were detected last August. The offenders were charged following an investigation by Western Australia’s Corruption and Crime Commission. The university subsequently closed the centre.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship has been reviewing the residency status of the people involved in the scam, including those whose scores were changed.
IELTS Australia director John Belleville said the sentences demonstrated that attempts to defraud IELTS tests would be identified and punished.
He said IELTS security systems had detected the anomalous results at CELC and brought them to the university’s attention. IELTS had also supported the CCC investigation, which hadn’t uncovered wrongdoing at any other test centres, he said.
“IELTS has sophisticated security procedures in place to protect legitimate test candidates and the organisations that use IELTS results.
“IELTS recognises the significant responsibility we have to ensure that organisations are issued with a result that reliably reflects a candidate’s English language proficiency.”
Source: The Australian