Jail for Romford woman who tried to import forged passports for illegal migrants
A Romford woman who attempted to import forged passports in a bid to help illegal migrants remain in the UK has been jailed for 15 months.
Rachel Johnson’s scam was uncovered when Border Agency officers at Coventry International Postal Hub intercepted a package containing four suspicious Nigerian passports in March.
The passports themselves were genuine but contained counterfeit bio-data pages and tampered visa documents.
The parcel was delivered to Johnson’s home address in Cottons Approach on March 22 shortly after which she was arrested by specialist officers from the UK Border Agency.
When they searched the house they also found her Nigerian passport contained a counterfeit indefinite leave to remain stamp.
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Johnson, 40, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to breach immigration laws and possession of forged identity documents at a previous hearing.
She was sentenced to 15 months in prison on Thursday of last week at Basildon Crown Court.
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Hannah Shirley from the UK Border Agency, whose team investigated the case, said: “Johnson made a blatant attempt to cheat our immigration laws herself and on behalf of others but her conspiracy was foiled thanks to the vigilance of our detection officers at Coventry Postal Hub.
“I am pleased that the court has recognised the seriousness of her actions. The message is clear: we will investigate those people who deliberately abuse our immigration system and they will face a custodial sentence like this one.”
The UK Border Agency says it will now seek to remove Johnson from the country at the earliest opportunity.
It is believed the people whose passports Johnson attempted to import had entered the UK illegally.
Investigations into the whereabouts of three of them are continuing but a fourth has been charged with attempted possession of a forged Nigerian passport.
The UK Border Agency used its specialist North and East London Criminal and Financial Investigation team on the case.
It is a specialist unit of police officers seconded from the Metropolitan Police working alongside warranted UK Border Agency officers to investigate organised immigration crime.
Johnson was sentenced to six months concurrently for one count of possession of false identity documents, nine months concurrently for one count of possession of an identity document with improper intention, and nine months consecutively for conspiracy to do an act to facilitate the commission of a breach of UK immigration law.
Anyone who has information about immigration crime should contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where anonymity can be assured or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org.