A 25-year-old case of passport fraud has been uncovered in Australia

by Ray Clancy on June 22, 2011

in Australia Immigration

Passport fraud uncovered

Three people have been arrested in Queensland after a joint law enforcement investigation uncovered a 25-year-old case of passport fraud.

It will be alleged in court that the three, an American man aged 66, a Danish woman aged 67 and an American woman aged 42, used fraudulently obtained United States passports to enter Australia in 1986.

In February 2011, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) received a request from the United States Consulate General in Sydney for assistance in locating the three people following the death of the true identity claimed by the 66-year-old male and 67 year old woman in the United States.

Last week the AFP, with the assistance of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, US Department of State Diplomatic Security Service and Queensland Police Service executed a number of search warrants in Cairns and Mackay as part of the search.

Manager Crime Operations Peter Sykora said the investigation was an example of the AFP’s commitment to combating identity crime, including passport fraud. ‘The AFP has Identity Security Strike Teams dedicated to the investigation of identity related crime, including the compromise of personal information and the production of false or forged identity documents,,’ he explained.

‘The focus of the teams, which include officers from the AFP, DIAC, the Australian Crime Commission, state police and the Roads and Traffic Authority, is on investigating serious and complex identity security matters and forming a collaborative network among law enforcement agencies to effectively deal with this emerging crime type,’ he added.

All three have been charged with offences in contravention of the Foreign Passports (Law Enforcement and Security) Act 2005, Migration Act 1958, Australian Passports Act 2005, and the Australian Citizenship Act 2007. The maximum penalty for these offences is 10 years’ imprisonment.

Additionally, all three have been charged with producing false documents contrary to the Criminal Code Act 1995. The maximum penalty for this offence is 12 months’ imprisonment.

A DIAC spokesman said the investigation, arrest and charging of these people was an excellent example of the whole of government commitment to combating identity crime, migration offences and passport fraud.

‘DIAC is committed to ensuring the lawful entry and residence of people to Australia and has a policy of taking action against people who enter Australia under fraudulent circumstances or fail to declare their criminal history in an attempt to remain in Australia and gain Australian citizenship,’ the spokesman said.

If members of the public are concerned about Identity Crime or Identity Theft issues, they should visit the AFP’s website at www.afp.gov.au for further information and advice. Alternatively, for matters relating to identity crime, migration and citizenship offences, people are encouraged to contact DIAC on 1800 009 623.

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