A gang that operated for more than a year providing forged official documents to Sri Lankans to obtain visas to the United States and European countries has been busted by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
The detection came after a western diplomatic mission called in detectives when a couple produced suspicious documents. \Detectives said yesterday that the forgers, who held fraudulent seals of various government institutions, had charged Rs 114,000 (US $ 1000) per applicant for a visa. The practice had continued for more than a year and a number of applicants have found their way to the US and European countries, CID officials said yesterday. They said most of the applicants were from the North and the East.
What made the gang different from the others was the way they operated. CID sources said yesterday that it was a “one stop shop” where applicants paid the money and forgot about it until they received their visas.
Preparation of birth certificates, National Identity Cards, filling forms to obtain passports were all done by the gang. It was only thereafter they obtained appointments for their clients to forward applications to western embassies, they added. The forgers had used a middle man as the agent to canvass applicants to secure their services.
The couple from Delgoda confessed they had paid Rs 114,000 to the middle man, a resident of Pannipitiya. His arrest led the detectives to a house at Katuwawala in Boralesgamuwa where they found a person described as a "master forger", they said.
CID sources said they seized the documents of nine people who were to apply for visas, National Identity Cards and 92 rubber seals of various government institutions.