Legal secretary used dead child’s details in fraudulent passport application

A highly-regarded legal secretary used the details of a dead child in a fraudulent bid to obtain a passport, a court heard.

Melanie Carter, 33, a single parent of two children and carer of her father, was told she had thrown away her good reputation.

Sentencing her to five months imprisonment suspended for 12 months, Judge Christopher Batty said it had been a “very, very stupid thing to do” to get involved in such a serious offence.

Prosecutor Abigail Langford told Bradford Crown Court today that Carter, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, made an application to the Passport Service in 2012 in the name of Mohammed Nasar Akram.

Miss Langford said: “The date of birth was discovered to belong to a deceased infant, who had died some years ago.”

She said the passport was to be sent to the defendant’s home address, and details filled in on the passport application form included a phone number the defendant was using at the time.

Miss Langford said Carter’s basis of plea was that, at the request of Mohammed Nasar Akram, she agreed to provide details to obtain a passport. They included the age, address, passport number and the mobile phone number she was using at the time. She assisted him because he told her he urgently needed to obtain the passport to travel to Pakistan to see his elderly mother.

The defendant asserted that she did not fill in any application form and did not receive any financial benefit.

Miss Langford added: “The Crown could not prove who had filled in the application form because of the presence of her former partner’s fingerprints, and others located on documents and birth certificates. The Crown accepted her basis of plea.”

Miss Langford said the passport was never obtained.

Carter, of Hudson Gate, Wyke, Bradford, had no previous convictions.

Her barrister, Shufqat Khan, handed in a letter of reference from the firm of solicitors who employed her. He said: “She has lost her positive good character.”

Judge Batty said the letter from the law firm was a “very good reference.”

He told her: “You are well thought of at work.”

Judge Batty added: “You are obviously a very caring mum and a very caring daughter. You work hard to deal with your dad, and manage to work hard at your job as well.

“I should send you to custody, but I am prepared to suspend the sentence.”

He ordered Carter to pay £600 prosecution costs.


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