A Lithuanian man has been jailed for five years for his part in an illegal identity racket, in which a variety of false identities were used on forged passports, driving licences and identity cards.
One of the many identities erroneously used was none other than that of the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Tugusi – who shares his forename with the controversial Soviet Premier – used an assortment of names and nationalities, including Estonian and Polish passports, and ID cards alleged to be from Poland, Cyprus and Lithuania, in the falsified documents he produced.
31 year-old Tugusi was only caught by police when an altercation broke out between him and a fellow co-conspirator at his Ipswich home late one July night last year. Upon arriving at the scene, officers were quick to notice an elaborate forger’s laboratory.
The ambitious identity thief was also reprimanded for a further 10 offences, including money laundering throughout the first half of last year, to the amount of over £34,000.
One of the customs officers involved in the case had even said that the profits of Tugusi’s work were the largest haul of counterfeit documentation he had ever witnessed. However Judge Goodin, of Ipswich Crown Court had said that “None of the forgeries were professional” and that they were “pretty good” at best, and deemed them insufficient to allow the user access past passport control- a point that the investigation picked up on as a number of Tugusi’s illegitimate customers were apprehended with counterfeit documents at customs.
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