Three notorious criminals of Romanian descent have been apprehended and arrested for organizing an illegal ID card scam in Britain. Had they succeeded in their plot, illegal immigrants to the UK would have been entitled to a lot of benefits in healthcare at the expense of Britain.
Vasile Gheorghe and two of his cronies Valentin Babtan and Andreea Necula circumvented border control laws in the EU by offering forged Italian and Romanian driving licenses and ID cards, some of which cost as much as $2,000. Bearing an image of the illegal immigrant, each fake ID would normally contain the exact details of unsuspecting Romanians already residing in Bucharest and who had the legal access to emigrate to the UK through an already existing program called the EU’s Free Movement of Workers.
These cards were usually sold to illegally smuggled Afghans, Iranians, and Iraqis, many of whom were running away from crisis in their countries. With the ID cards, these immigrants had access to UK benefits and NHS system.
The three criminals were apprehended in March after a successful undercover operation in which 39 year old Gheorghe was caught bragging that he always did an excellent job which ensured that users of his fake ID cards could easily cash cheques at the banks without being detected nor caught.
When immigration officers from the Home Office raided several of the criminals’ properties in Eccles, Greater Manchester and Preston, Lancashire, they seized a huge stash of cash and several fake documents.
At Preston Crown Court, Gheorge, along with his accomplices, 39 year old Babtan, and 28 year old Necula, all pleaded guilty of the crime of supplying false documents. Gheorghe was eventually jailed for 14 months while Babton was jailed 12 months and Necola bagged 10 months.
According to a Home Office Criminal Investigations Officer Dave Magrath, the case was going to send a very clear warning to all gangs that were into such organized crime: the Home Office crime teams were skilled enough to investigate and apprehend them wherever they were. In his view, it was a very serious crime, no matter what its objective was, whether to bypass immigration laws, defraud the banks, or just cheat the country’s system of benefits. He further assured that offenders would definitely be caught, no matter what.
It is worth mentioning that these type of immigration crimes and scams started when border restrictions on Romania and Bulgaria were relaxed in January 1. This then allowed citizens of those EU member countries unhindered access to the jobs in the UK as well as to its welfare benefits system.
The trio of Gheorghe, Babtan and Necula cleverly but criminally circumvented the same laws in order to legally immigrate to the UK. Thereafter, they began to sell fake ID cards on the black market which illegal immigrants could use to exploit and benefit from both the UK welfare system and the NHS. A Sunday newspaper was what exposed their racket after an investigation was carried out by investigators who had pretended to be businessmen meeting with some members of gangs located in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire. The investigators had first met with an ‘introducer’ in the person of Necula where they were shown a fake ID card and told that it had been made in Spain. Later on, they met with Gheorghe who showed them even more fake card. He was even said to have boasted that he knew of someone who had used a similar card to cash money in a bank. The card had been so flawless that even after being checked with a UV, no flaw could be detected. Police eventually carried out their raids when the investigators had collected the fake card.