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Serious sentence for passport offender

11 May 2006

Serious sentence for passport offender

Criminals thinking of attempting passport fraud need to know that they face a very high probability of being caught.

The Department of Internal Affairs is determined to identify fraudulent passport applications, whether older or more recent. Today’s sentencing in Waitakere District Court of Garry Fullerton also known as Frederick Matthew Nixon for passport offences highlights this intent.

Fullerton was this morning sentenced to four years’ imprisonment on a number of charges including passport fraud.

Helen Jamison, Passports Operations Manager, says passport fraud is a crime with serious consequences.

“Identity fraud often enables further criminal offending and the Department is committed to the ongoing development of security initiatives to ensure the integrity of the New Zealand passport.

“Nixon’s offending highlights the lengths people will go to get a New Zealand passport. New Zealanders are rightly proud of the status of their passport, which is regarded as one of the best in the world, providing visa free access to many countries,” says Helen Jamison.

New systems and procedures such as the check against death records, a shorter term of passport validity and the introduction of an e-Passport make it extremely difficult for even determined criminals to obtain a New Zealand passport and use it fraudulently.

If convicted of offences committed since 2002, people face penalties of up to ten years imprisonment and/or a fine of $250,000 under passport legislation passed in that year.

Our message to anyone thinking of committing this sort of fraud is: “It’s not worth the risk – don’t try it, you will be caught.”

END

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