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Last Updated: Friday, 24 August 2007, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
Passport fraud man faces prison
A civil servant faces jail after being convicted of signing seven fraudulent passport applications.

Charles Myton, 28, from Tooting, south London, helped seven people obtain passports illegally in 2003 by claiming to know them as friends.

He was found guilty of seven counts of forgery at Croydon Crown Court.

Identity and Passport Service spokesman Bernard Herdan said "significant criminal harm" can be facilitated by those holding a false passport.

Myton, a former JobCentre employee, signed all the fraudulent applications within a four-month period.

Identities unknown

One man issued with a passport was a Jamaican, who was subsequently deported to Jamaica after being caught trying to enter the US using the false passport.

Police have yet to identify the remaining six people issued with fraudulent passports.

Outside court, Det Ch Insp John Kielty said: "No-one should be left in any doubt, that countersigning a passport is a serious responsibility.

"Unless you have genuinely known the person applying for the passport for at least three years, you could be liable to 10 years imprisonment if this leads to a fraudulently-obtained passport."

Myton's conviction follows the similar but unrelated sentencing of another former JobCentre employee, Valentina Costley, 43, from Deptford, south-east London.

Costley was sentenced to 26 months imprisonment earlier this month after charging 12 people up to 3,000 each to falsely complete passport applications on their behalf.

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