Gang who supplied Christy Kinahan Snr and other criminals with false passports jailed
Gang jailed for passports scam that let serious criminals go on the run
Yesterday at 16:45
A gang who supplied “golden ticket” falsified passports to fugitive criminals including murderers and drug dealers have been jailed.
Anthony Beard (61) and Christopher Zietek (67) were caught after a covert surveillance operation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) found they provided fraudulently obtained genuine passports (FOGs) to organised criminals over a five-year period.
Beard, who paid vulnerable people for their expired passports so he could apply for renewals using their names but criminals’ photos, was sentenced to six years and eight months at Reading Crown Court on Tuesday.
Beard from Sydenham, south east London, put contact numbers of his own burner phones on official forms and countersigned some of them himself as he shepherded more than 100 fraudulent applications through to completion.
He would find people with similar facial features to his criminal clients and pay them to donate their expired passports, with other contacts pretending to be professionals to vouch that the criminals’ photos were genuine.
He was jailed after admitting conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and conspiracy to make a false instrument with intent. Another 74 offences linked to fraudulent passport applications were taken into consideration.
Christopher Zietek also known as Chris McCormack, who was his link with crime gangs, was jailed for eight years.
A third member of the gang, Alan Thompson, was sentenced to three years.
The documents they supplied, costing up to £15,000, enabled criminals to cross borders and conduct business undetected.
Customers included Christy Kinahan Snr, Glasgow murderers Jordan Owen and Christopher Hughes, Liverpool drug trafficker Michael Moogan, Manchester fugitive David Walley and suspected Scottish drug traffickers Barrie Gillespie, Jamie Stevenson and James White.
High level criminals paid up to £20,000 for the fraudulently obtained genuine (FOG) passports, that enabled them to go on the run and start a new life abroad in countries including Spain, Portugal and cities such as Dubai.