A fraudster forged character references to run a security business without a licence, a court heard.
Richard Mbembe-Babaku, of Atherton, Manchester, pleaded guilty to fraud charges at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on January 23.
The court fined Mbembe-Babaku £120, ordered him to pay £250 prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £34.
Richard Mbembe-Babaku was formerly licensed by the Security Industry Authority (SIA).
But, the court was told, his security guard licence was revoked by the SIA’s licensing team on 27 April 2022 due to two separate undeclared convictions on 30 June 2020.
Mbembe-Babaku had immediately lodged an appeal against the SIA’s decision but as he was unable to find legitimate referees, he wrote two fraudulent character references in support of his appeal.
The SIA’s licensing team were suspicious, as the references used the same font and form of words. The SIA began a criminal investigation into Mbembe-Babaku.
Two investigators went to the addresses of the people who had supposedly sent the character references. Residents and neighbours revealed that the named people did not live at the addresses he had provided.
During an interview under caution on 21 July 2022, his second with SIA investigators, Mbembe-Babaku admitted his fraud and claimed that it was a market research experiment to see how to obtain an SIA licence.
He owned up to inventing four references in total.
Nicola Bolton, one of the SIA’s criminal investigations managers, said: “The significant fraud element in this case heightens the risk to the public by Mbembe-Babaku. He attempted to obtain his licence on appeal using trickery and deception.
“The SIA’s robust vetting process in reviewing his appeal, and the speedy and thorough investigation by our criminal investigation team, left the defendant no option other than to enter guilty pleas due to the overwhelming case against him.
“He now has a criminal record and will not be able to work in the private security industry.”