Jailed: Hainault man who made £84,000 selling fake passports handed 28-month prison sentence
- Credit: Archant
A Hainault man has been jailed after Home Office investigators discovered he had made £84,000 selling fake European passports and identity documents that he produced himself.
Cristian Grebinschi, 49, of Tudor Crescent, and Alexandru Muraru, 34, of Norman Road, Leyton, both Romanian nationals, were sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Thursday, August 2.
They had both pleaded guilty at the same court on May 4 to possession of identity documents with intent and possessing criminal property. Grebinschi also admitted one count of possessing equipment for manufacturing counterfeits and Muraru admitted possessing a class A drug.
Grebinschi was sentenced to 28 months in jail and Muraru received a total of 10 months, plus 2 months for the drugs offences to be served consecutively.
Immigration Enforcement’s Criminal and Financial Investigation (CFI) team began investigating the pair in September last year when Border Force officers intercepted and seized a package containing four counterfeit Italian passports en route to an address in New York.
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Financial enquiries provided enough evidence to obtain a search warrant for Grebinschi’s flat and another property that he rented on Norman Road.
It was in the property on Norman Road that CFI officers discovered equipment for producing fake documents, including a high-quality printer, laminator, and stereoscope magnifier – as well as forged driving licenses, passports, identity cards and construction certificates.
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Officers also found a number of blank Italian passports.
In addition to the fake documents, Muraru had class A drugs and £14,740 in cash in his desk. This money was forfeited in court on Thursday under the Proceeds of Crime Act, as was £1,600 seized at Grebinschi’s home address on Tudor Crescent.
When questioned, Grebinschi admitted to creating counterfeit documents, offering his services to customers both in the UK and abroad.
Financial investigations showed that Grebinschi had received cash transfers totalling approximately £84,000.
CFI inspector Chris Barton said: “Through our investigations, we have uncovered a professional and organised counterfeits operation.
“This scam, driven by profit, supplied fake documents into the hands of individuals for what could only have been unlawful purposes, including convincing prospective employers that they had the right to work in the UK.
“This criminal enterprise has now been stopped in its tracks with the jailing of this pair.
“Our message to others that might be tempted to involve themselves in this type of criminality is simple: we will find you and we will bring you to justice.”