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Man jailed for forged trade certificates

Print Page Published: 09:27:35 PM, Sat 16 March 2013 Australia/Brisbane

A Sydney man has been jailed for forging trade qualification certificates for migrants.

Mark Anthony Buhagiar was sentenced to a maximum 18 months with a non-parole period of 13 and a half months in Sutherland Local Court on Friday after pleading guilty to eight charges of using a false document to obtain financial advantage, NSW Fair Trading said in a statement on Sunday.

The forged papers were for the electrical, refrigeration and air conditioning sectors.

Fair Trading said in 2011 Mr Buhagiar had posed as a qualified assessor from the accredited registered training organisation VETASSESS.

He conducted sham assessments for migrants and then charged them for bogus certificates, Fair Trading said.

The department became aware of the scam after anomalies were picked up in trade qualification documents submitted by an applicant in 2011.

"The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and the Department of Education and Communities were notified, with the ICAC returning the matter to Fair Trading for further investigation," Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said in a statement.

Twenty-two applicants were found to have been using fraudulent documents, Mr Stowe said.

He said Fair Trading had since improved its licensing IT system.

Buhagiar had previously been fined for a range of home building and license breaches, Fair Trading said.

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