Master counterfeiter who ran a fake ID factory sold thousands of forged driving licences, identity cards and work permits to foreign nationals looking to get a foothold in the UK
- Sergiy Mykhaylov, 38, transformed his Stratford home into a forgery factory
- The professional printer set up a sophisticated ‘Amazon-style’ service
- Customers used email and text messages to order custom-made documents
- Officers recovered 3,000 identity documents and 3,500 passport style photos
Sergiy Mykhaylov, 38, transformed his home in Stratford, East London, into a forgery factory
A master counterfeiter who ran a fake ID factory sold thousands of forged driving licences, identity cards and work permits to foreign nationals looking to get a foothold in the UK.
The professional printer set up a sophisticated and lucrative ‘Amazon-style’ service which ran for at least seven years.
Customers used email and text messages to order custom-made documents allowing them to work, drive, open bank accounts and claim benefits.
A fake UK driving licence could be bought for just £130.
Investigators said it was impossible to assess how many people may still be using the cards to remain in the country illicitly.
Officers recovered more than 3,000 identity documents, 3,500 passport style photos and 300 construction skills certificate cards.
They also found £15,000 in cash and enough material to create another 40,000 fake bank cards.
At the centre of the conspiracy was Ukrainian company director Sergiy Mykhaylov, 38, who transformed his home in Stratford, East London, into a forgery factory.
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Undercover officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) watched as he met Albanian middlemen who distributed the forged documents to clients.
In June, Mykhaylov was caught red-handed outside the printing business where he worked in Hackney, just a few miles from his home.
Officers recovered more than 3,000 identity documents, 3,500 passport style photos and 300 construction skills certificate cards (file photo)
Moments earlier he had been seen handing over six forged ID cards to one of his ‘regular customers’, a street-level Albanian criminal.
Mark McCormack, of the NCA, said the vast majority of customers were from Albania and countries on the fringes of Europe.
‘These cards would provide the basis for someone to start off in the UK, to establish themselves under a different name or even their own.
‘It opens up credit, job prospects, the banking system,’ he said. ‘It was like the Amazon of false identity documents. His services spread rapidly by word of mouth.
‘The organisation would provide cards to anybody. It is a very lucrative market.’
Mr McCormack said he was particularly concerned at the danger posed by fake construction skills certificates, designed to keep the building industry safe.
Mykhaylov pleaded guilty to multiple fraud offences at Blackfriars Crown Court last month. He was jailed for five-and-a-half years.
Accomplices Sergiy Kalinins, 37, and Dmytro Mykhailytskyi, 39, were also jailed for a total of more than 11 years after admitting various offences including fraud.
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