It’s been a busy winter for the CITB Fraud Team in the fight against illegal activities in the construction industry.
Fraud Investigator Ian Sidney has assisted in multiple police cases which have led to prison terms for fraudsters. Here’s the latest.
Five jailed for running ‘forgery factory’
Five men were jailed for a combined total of 30 years for running a ‘forgery factory’. Satnman Hayer, 40, Sandeep Singh, 35, Harjinder Kingre, 29, Pritpal Singh, 40, and Gurjit Singh, 37, were all charged with various fraud offences after immigration officers carrying out a raid on a home in East Ham, east London, stumbled upon a bedroom converted into a fully-equipped factory manufacturing British, European and Indian documents.
Snaresbrook Crown Court heard in December that the men were all involved in creating and distributing between 50,000 to 100,000 false documents including passports, driving licences and Construction Skills Certification Scheme cards.
CITB supported the investigation by supplying evidence on genuine CSCS cards and verifying the status of counterfeit cards and qualifications that had been produced.
Sandeep Singh and Harjinder Kingre, both of Leigh Road, East Ham, denied their role in running the bedroom operation, but a jury convicted them both of conspiracy to make and supply article for use in fraud. They were each jailed for eight and a half years.
Pritpal Singh admitted his role in the plot, along with another charge related to possessing one of the fake passports, and was jailed for six years.
Satnman Hayer of Normanton, Derby, and Gurjit Singh of Southall, Ealing, both admitted to buying forged documents to sell on for profit. Hayer was sentenced to three years and nine months in jail while Singh will face sentencing at a later date.
In two separate court cases, two men have also received custodial sentences following Home Office Immigration Enforcement investigations supported by CITB.
Ukrainian jailed for illegal work
A Ukrainian national was sentenced to 14 months in jail for facilitating illegal working in the UK.
Mr Gheorghe Calancea, a 39-year-old living in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, denied working or living in the UK and provided an address overseas, however CITB checks proved that he had been issued with a CSCS Construction Related Occupation card in 2016 to work as a joint taper.
Jail for man caught with fake documents
An Albanian national, Sulejman Gerbolli, was found guilty of illegally entering the UK and using fake identity documents in the name Mr Cesare Lombardi to work in the construction industry.
He was charged with 12 offences, three of which related to CITB, including using a false Italian ID card to do the CITB HS&E test, fraud by gaining a CSCS card and possession of the counterfeit CSCS card.
At Isleworth Crown Court in December he was sentenced to one year imprisonment. After he serves his sentence he will be deported and banned from returning to the UK.
CITB supported the investigation into the counterfeit CSCS card and provided a witness statement which was used in the court proceedings to prove the case.
Commenting on the cases, CITB Fraud Investigator Ian Sidney said: “People working illegally or without the necessary qualifications poses a huge risk to the construction industry.
"Illegal working undermines legitimate employers, harms the reputation of the industry, drives down wages and denies employment opportunities to many others.
"These three prosecutions clearly show CITB is fully committed to fighting fraud in the construction industry and we will continue to work with the Home Office and other law enforcement agencies in bringing offenders to justice.”
What to do if you spot a fraudulent card
Employers are urged to conduct regular checks on cards either using CSCS smart card readers or the CITB online card checker on our website - please see attached link to check cards.
If you think you know someone using a fraudulent card you should:
- Retain the card if possible
- Make photocopies of front and back
- Record cardholder’s name and address
- Ask the cardholder where the card was obtained from
- Call the local police and report the matter
- Refuse access to site (subject to company rules)
- Forward copies of all evidence to CITB Quality Assurance Team, Building 16, Bircham Newton, King’s Lynn, PE31 6RH, marked ‘SUSPECTED FRAUDULENT CARD’ with details of the crime number given by local police
- You can also email Report.firstname.lastname@example.org