‘Re­morse­ful’ fraud­ster gets 90 days in jail for mak­ing fake ID

Bor­der Ser­vices of­fi­cer spot­ted pa­pers at Hamil­ton air­port

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - GOR­DON PAUL

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.

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