‘Remorseful’ fraudster gets 90 days in jail for making fake ID
Border Services officer spotted papers at Hamilton airport
KITCHENER — A man charged after a year-long Hamilton RCMP investigation into a fairly new crime — synthetic identity fraud — was jailed for 90 days on Wednesday in Kitchener court.
Tahir Mahmood’s sentence will be served intermittently so he can continue to work as a cab driver in Toronto.
Synthetic identify fraud involves creating a fake identity to acquire legitimate pieces of identification. The ID can then be used get credit cards or loans.
Mahmood, 51, pleaded guilty to a string of charges, including fraud over $5,000 and conspiracy to commit fraud, defence lawyer Bogdan Cafengiu said outside court.
The crimes happened in Hamilton and Waterloo Region.
Cafengiu said Mahmood has made full restitution of $60,000 to financial institutions.
“He is remorseful for what he’s done,” he said.
Cafengiu said several people were involved in the scheme and stressed Mahmood was not the mastermind. Justice Elliott Allen agreed he was a “bit player.”
While Cafengiu asked for a sentence of time served and probation, the prosecution sought 18 months in jail.
“This is not simply a mistake in judgment or error,” Crown prosecutor Linda Elliott said, calling it an organized scheme to rip off financial institutions.
Allen suggested Mahmood would have got a stiffer sentence were it not for him making restitution to the financial institutions.
“They’ve got their money back,” he said.
Allen said banks would be wise to tighten up their “incredibly lax security.”
The judge said the 18 days Mahmood spent in jail following his arrest in 2014 probably taught him a lesson.
“I don’t think we’ll ever see him again.”
Allen ordered Mahmood to provide a DNA sample for the national databank.
RCMP began investigating in 2013 after a border officer at John C. Munro airport in Hamilton intercepted what was believed to be a fake citizenship card.
The card came from the United Arab Emirates and was destined for a Hamilton address.
Police alleged fictitious Hamilton companies were created and Hamilton addresses, including two UPS stores, were used.
The RCMP said funds were laundered through the phoney companies.