A 29-year-old Romanian footballer and director of Boston Town Football Club was jailed for 11 months yesterday for a string of immigration and fraud-related offences.
Lorand Borbely entered the UK in March 2004 under a Hungarian passport bearing the name of a relative called Laszlo Lovas.
He switched identities because he knew Hungary would join the EU sooner than Romania -- which meant that people with Hungarian passports could live and work in the UK commencing May 1, 2004, while Romanians had to wait until January 1, 2007.
After moving to the UK, Borbely played as Laszlo 'Lori' Lovas for Boston Town and Deeping Rangers in the United Counties League. He also played for Sunday League champions Magnet Tavern and appeared at Anfield in the FA Sunday Cup final in April. He then joined the board of Boston Town as a director last year.
UK Border Agency officers mounted a two year investigation into the identity scam. During the raid on his home in Fishtoft, Lincolnshire, a detector dog sniffed out £6,000 in cash hidden in an alcove behind the kitchen sink pedestal. In total about £14,000 in cash was found at the address.
At his trial at Lincoln Crown Court, it was revealed that Borbely fraudulently obtained £540,998 which he used to purchase five properties and three cars -- two Audi TTs and a Mercedes Benz -- although bank records showed his mortgage and car finance payments were all up-to-date and none of the lenders had "lost out" by lending him money.
In sentencing, Recorder Nirmal Shant, said: "You had your photograph inserted on a passport, using a Hungarian passport of someone that you knew.
"You must have known as you came in [to the UK] that anything you did thereafter was going to be a life of lies and that is what it has been."
Commenting on the conviction, Andrew Radcliffe from the UK Border Agency said
"This man might have been well regarded by Boston Town fans and his fellow directors but we will not ignore this sort of deception.
"Foreign nationals that try to con their way into work with a false passport are making it more difficult for British people to find jobs. Businesses that turn a blind eye to such fraud undercut honest employers who recruit staff with the right to work in the UK and who pay them a proper salary.
"There are strict rules about which foreign nationals can get a job in the UK and businesses have a clear responsibility to carry out the right checks. Bosses that don't play by the rules face on the spot fines and could potentially end up in jail."
- Footballer faces jail after admitting fraud charges and using a fake passport (This is Lincolnshire)
- Lincolnshire footballer jailed over deception (BBC News)
- Timeline of European integration (Findlaw.co.uk)
- UK work permits (Findlaw.co.uk)
- Immigration law Q&A (Community)
- Immigration law news (The Solicitor)
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