John Weekes is an NZME News Service reporter based in Wellington.

Fraud with fake papers alleged

A forged passport undergoes examination at Auckland Airport. Photo / Doug Sherring
A forged passport undergoes examination at Auckland Airport. Photo / Doug Sherring

Two men accused of using fake passports and other documents are facing several forgery and deception charges.

Jesmont Spiteri, 43, and 27-year-old Liju Abdul Karim appeared in the North Shore District Court last week. Some of the charges carried maximum jail terms of up to 10 years.

Police charge sheets suggested the Stanmore Bay residents tried to pocket $16,331 from the alleged offences. The two were accused of having fake Australian passports with the intention of defrauding ANZ Bank. They were also accused of using a fake Unitec letter for deceitful purposes.

Pakistan-born Spiteri faced an additional charge of counterfeiting a birth certificate.

It is an offence to alter, conceal, destroy or make a document with the intention to deceive somebody. Spiteri and Karim, originally from India, face more than a dozen charges each under the Crimes Act and Passports Act.

They are accused of having passport-style paper with an orange pattern to forge passports.

Internal Affairs spokesman Michael Mead said there were three common types of fraudulent passports - genuine passports acquired using a false identity; physicially altered genuine passports; or outright counterfeit passports.

"It is extremely difficult to produce a counterfeit New Zealand passport due to the sophisticated technology and security features incorporated into the New Zealand passport."

Last month Brigitte Daniele Crause of Hamilton admitted using a falsely obtained passport to help her child-molester husband Christopher flee the country. He was due to be sentenced for underage sex offences and is still on the run with a bogus New Zealand passport in the name of "Daniel Finnerty".

In February two British men were jailed after using the identities of New Zealanders to make fake passports.

Spiteri and Karim will re-appear in court next week.

- Herald on Sunday

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