AFP swoop on two women over fake passport claims
Article from: The Daily Telegraph
May 04, 2009 12:00am
A POST office clerk and a suburban mother allegedly masterminded a fake passport racket to bring illegal immigrants into Australia.
The false passports created at Fairfield Post Office were used by a people-smuggling ring to fly illegal immigrants directly into the country, police claimed.
Postal worker Lara Triglia and her alleged accomplice Samira Al Kanani, 44, faced Parramatta Bail Court yesterday.
The women were dramatically arrested on Saturday night after police claimed their role in the racket was uncovered by a damning paper trail.
Lara Triglia, an unassuming 35-year-old clerk, was arrested in the middle of the night at the home she shares with her father.
Alleged accomplice Al Kanani, of Mt Druitt, was arrested by Australian Federal Police at Sydney airport as she tried to board a flight out of the country.
An investigation into the women began in April, after officials discovered people smugglers were using “corrupt Australia Post staff” to approve fraudulent passports and then going overseas to help immigrants skip the queue.
It is not known how the two met but the AFP will allege Triglia, whose job as an interviewing officer was to meet applicants and check that photos and documents matched up, signed off on papers linked to Al Kanani and her family.
The fake applications allegedly included three that had Australian names but photographs of “unknown citizens”.
Investigators checked a driver's licence photograph from the RTA and found the name on one passport and its accompanying photograph were of two different people.
Phone records revealed the mobile number belonged to yet another person – Al Kanani's son.
The passport, in the name of an Australian citizen, was never used to fly out – just to fly in.
Another passport application was made in the name of Al Kanani's second son.
Yesterday the court was told investigators then set up a sting, ordering the Australian Passport Office to issue the fake papers.
When Al Kanani's daughter came to collect her “brother's passport” police tracked her to her car, where Al Kanani was sitting.
Police, who watched her movements for two weeks, swooped when Al Kanani allegedly tried to board a plane with the fake passport on Saturday night.
Yesterday Al Kanani appeared over video-link at Parramatta Bail Court in tears.
Despite her dramatic arrest only hours earlier, Triglia calmly faced the court.
More passports that Triglia ticked off are being analysed.
Triglia, who faces three charges of making a false statement on an Australian travel document, was granted bail.
Al Kanini faces three charges. She was refused bail.
Both will appear at Central Local Court on May 6.