11 Aug 2022

Mongolian national who paid life savings for fake passport documentation avoids jail

Mongolian national who paid life savings for fake passport documentation avoids jail

A Mongolian national who paid his life savings in exchange for false documentation to use in a passport application has received a fully suspended sentence.

Surenkhor Ulambayar (49) paid €25,000 for a false naturalisation certificate which he used to apply for an Irish passport. Approximately €7,300 of this money was recovered by him when the application was rejected.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that this money came from the proceeds of the sale of a home in Mongolia owned by the father-of-two.

Ulambayar with an address at Talbot Street, Dublin city centre, pleaded guilty to providing false documentation when making a passport application in Dublin on November 3, 2015. He has no previous convictions.

Detective Garda Padraig Hanley told Eoin Lawlor BL, prosecuting, that on the date in November 2015, the Passport Office received an application for an Irish passport from the accused man which contained a naturalisation certificate.

Det Gda Hanley said this certificate gave rise to questions within the office and an investigation was launched. Ulambayar was interviewed by staff and arising from this his passport application was denied as the Passport Office were satisfied that the naturalisation certificate was false.

Ulambayar later gave a statement to gardaí involved in an ongoing investigation into false documentation possessed by foreign nationals.

The accused told gardaí he became aware though his community that someone had obtained a passport by paying a certain amount of money to certain people. He was put in contact with these people and paid them €25,000.

The court heard he recovered approximately €7,300 of this money after the passport application was rejected.

Det Gda Hanley agreed with Matthew Holmes BL, defending, that a number of suspects were found as a result of this investigation and that out of them his client was at the “lowest level of criminality”.

The detective agreed with counsel that his client admitted to the entire offence in his statement to gardaí. He agreed that the €25,000 came from the proceeds of the sale of the accused's home in Mongolia.

Mr Holmes said his client has lived in the country for 15 years with his family and has two children.

Counsel submitted that his client has dealt with the case in the best possible way and asked the court to be as lenient as possible.

Judge Pauline Codd said Ulambayar finds himself like many other Chinese and Mongolian nationals who “probably out of a sense of desperation” seek to attain status in this country by paying out to these people “higher up the pecking order”.

Judge Codd said the accused had to know it was illegal and the court is mindful of its duty to deter such abuse of the process. She said that he had handed over his life savings to these people.

She said the mitigating factors in the case included his guilty plea, his co-operation with the investigation and his personal circumstances which are “particularly tragic”. She said he is a “well-regarded” and “dedicated” member of the Mongolian community in Ireland.

Judge Codd sentenced Ulambayar to 18 months imprisonment, but suspended the sentence in its entirety on strict conditions.

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