The Shotgun Blog
Friday, December 28, 2007
On the sentencing of Emmanuel Villarceau which happened back on Nov. 20, the Ottawa Citizen today: Passport fraud lands ex-public servant two-year prison term
"The court documents do not indicate how the people who obtained passports using falsified information came in contact with Mr. Villarceau, nor what Mr. Villarceau received for providing the passports."
Back on May 16, the CBC ran this piece; "Former government worker forged passports" which has these details;
"Villarceau, who worked as an examination officer at the passport office in Gatineau, Que., sold the fake passports between December 2003 and June 2004 to Canadians living overseas, RCMP Sgt. Monique Beauchamp said.
The buyers allegedly paid up to $10,000 for the bogus passport, which bore a false name."
The next day, May 17, the Citizen had this: Passport officer admits to document scam. It contains these soothing words from the RCMP;
"Sgt. Beauchamp said the RCMP has discovered no evidence that the passports have fallen into the hands of known terrorist groups or criminal organizations."
Okay, if the recent story is true and the court documents don't tell us "what Mr. Villarceau received for providing the passports", and the CBC story is true, that "buyers allegedly paid up to $10,000 for the bogus passport" then somehow that detail didn't wind up in the court documents. In stories I read, the other detail of how these people "came in contact with Mr. Villarceau" is missing. That is curious and I'm glad the recent Citizen story pointed out it's missing in the court documents. So who would, or could, blow $10,000 on a false passport? Why would they do that? How did 14 people willing to spend $10,000 on a passport manage to get in contact with this one guy in the main office of Passport Canada-Foreign Affairs and International Trade? (btw just to be clear, the Passport Office changed its name to Passport Canada in Feb. 2005, right around the time Villarceau got caught and was fired--March 2005--probably, you know, to confuse criminals.)
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...this happened in Quebec?
Nothing new. Nothing here folks, move on.
Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-12-28 4:42:29 PM
Posted by: Speller | 2007-12-28 4:44:50 PM
As long as they don't post hate messages on the net like our border patrol "officers".
Posted by: Marc | 2007-12-28 5:40:35 PM
The most recent Citizen story linked says he pleaded guilty. I expect that because of that, there was no need to have witness testimony and thus no need to have the amounts paid and how he came into contact with the buyers in the court record. Just a quick "did you do it?" and a quick "yes". But the fact that these pieces of information are not in the court records does not mean that they are not known to the RCMP. Especially if other news reports have those details, they likely got them from police sources (who else would know them?).
As for who, other than terrorists, would have ten grand to spend on fake passports, I would suspect it could be people who are involved in other, more mundane sorts of international crime who want to be able to travel untraced. You know, the usual fraudsters and scam artists (maybe even associates of Conrad Black!). The RCMP may well know who was buying and why, and because of continuing investigations not want to say. It's not exactly the most reassuring information, but its not the worst it could be.
Posted by: Fact Check | 2007-12-28 5:48:54 PM
Is passport theft the same as nic napping?
Posted by: obc | 2007-12-28 5:52:59 PM
Sometimes, I'm forgeting I'm on the Shotgun.
Posted by: Marc | 2007-12-28 6:08:33 PM
"Canadians living overseas", some of whom - according to the same story - are barred from having passports - is a very strange description of the purchasers. I seem to recall all of the "Canadians" we evacuated from Lebanon in 2006 for some reason.
Posted by: Adam Yoshida | 2007-12-28 8:55:27 PM
CBC "Canadians living overseas" or Ottawa Citizen "Canadian citizens living in the United States"-- About all I see in that is somebody who made a passport application, so the assumption is that they were Canadian. The fact that they were obtaining false documents suggests they could not have been Canadian citizens.
It tough to parse these stories sometimes. For instance, the CBC story has the passports being sold up until June 2004, and the Citizen story has the fraud being uncovered in Nov. 2004. Is one story mistaken? Or are both correct and somebody was double-checking Villarceau's work five months after it was completed?
"It's not exactly the most reassuring information, but its not the worst it could be."
Agreed. That could be why the statement was made to the press. My suspicion is that this is some kind of organized crime group. How big? Could be just a small human smuggling ring, or something slightly more sinister.
It was more than a quick guilty plea, more than a "Did you do it?" and a "Yes." There was "an agreed statement of facts entered into court" on May 16. Certainly the investigation is ongoing because it appears they have only recovered one of the 11 passports. This means that those unrecovered passports are in the garbage, or are being used abroad, or they were used to enter Canada before the fraud was fully uncovered, or it could be that the police know exactly where the holders of those documents are and are tracking them for other purposes.
14 forgeries were uncovered, but only 11 passports delivered. That suggests that 3 were being processed when the fraud was uncovered on Nov. 5, 2004. Three at a time, this is why I suggest a small human smuggling ring. (That's a $30,000 payday for our boy. If it is a human smuggling ring there's a middleman so the passport recipients would have paid more, perhaps double.) Or it could be--since one passport was recovered--that somebody got snagged somewhere with a dodgy passport and that tipped off the office to go back and look at the file.
For me it is interesting to speculate on how one would go about setting this up. You would have to find out who in the passport office is capable of doing this. That would take a little research. You would have to find out if he or she is corruptible. And you would have to find a price that he or she would accept to commit the crime, a price that is within the limit of the buyer's ability to pay. (If there is a middleman, he would have to make a profit.) Reporters think about these kind of things; how did this happen? That's why they went looking for "how the people who obtained passports using falsified information came in contact with Mr. Villarceau." It's a human interest thing, not necessarily an attempt to find links to terrorism.
[added] The obvious just occurred to me. The police know what the holders of the false passports look like; they have their pictures. Did they send the photos out in a press release? I don't know.
Posted by: Kevin Steel | 2007-12-28 9:44:29 PM
Kevin: "Or are both correct and somebody was double-checking Villarceau's work five months after it was completed?" and "14 forgeries were uncovered, but only 11 passports delivered. That suggests that 3 were being processed when the fraud was uncovered on Nov. 5, 2004"
It could be that the crime was discovered because one of the three passports in the process of being forged were discovered rather than one of the older ones. But it is hard to know for sure how it happened.
"There was 'an agreed statement of facts entered into court' on May 16."
True enough, and that statement might have had some detail to it, but for the purposes of sentencing it might not have mattered who bought them and how much they paid. Selling fake passports for $1 is as bad a crime as doing it for $10,000. And if there is an ongoing investigation of buyers, the crown might not have pushed for these details to be in the record. More speculation by me, but not too improbable.
"For me it is interesting to speculate on how one would go about setting this up. You would have to find out who in the passport office is capable of doing this. That would take a little research. You would have to find out if he or she is corruptible."
This assumes that the other party initiated the dealings. It could just as easily be that a person of questionable character who has a job in the passport office decides he wants to make some bucks on the side and happens to know some shady people. But there are a small number of people in any profession that will take money to do just about anything. So just as cops and judges can be found to take bribes sometimes, I would not think it too hard to find low level civil servants to do the same if that is what you need.
Posted by: Fact Check | 2007-12-28 10:24:01 PM
"the crown might not have pushed for these details to be in the record."
That would be my guess as well.
"It could just as easily be that a person of questionable character who has a job in the passport office decides he wants to make some bucks on the side and happens to know some shady people."
Yeah, and I find that interesting at the level you describe--a guy working in the passport office who happens to know 14 shady people who all want false identification and will pay $10,000 each for it. That's some circle of acquaintances. Anyway, this is a corruption of a government official story, one that led to procedural changes in a government office, and in part appears to have influenced an auditor general's report. At that level it's interesting, too. And since it had this impact, you can see why reporters would wonder about what actually happened.
Posted by: Kevin Steel | 2007-12-28 11:10:38 PM
Fact Check, why do you even bother posting here anymore when you have been outed as an internet thug?
Posted by: epsilon | 2007-12-29 9:55:04 AM
Internet thug? Whatchoo talkin' 'bout epsi?
A couple of weeks ago one of the moderators of this site recklessly posted that a single fake "obc" post was made from the same Internet provider as my posts and ones from "Observer". I am not "Observer" and have never posted as "Observer", but it is possible that we get Internet access from the same provider, as do probably hundreds of thousands of others. So it is aslo possible that the fake "obc" is another of those. I replied to the thread where it seems to be alleged that I might have posted as "obc" that it wasn't me, but that has not stopped "obc" from playing stalker.
For a guy who caused this site to be threatened with a Human Rights violation for his posts calling for the extermination of Muslims and for a guy whose nickname is taken from Presidential assassins (O=Oswald, B=Booth, C=Czolgosz), such nutty behaviour is not surprising. So I ignore him now. Too insane to bother with.
Now you are free to believe what you want about whether I am a "thug" and can ignore me or stalk me like the troll "obc", but both Kevin Steel in this thread and Matthew Johnston in the Income Trust thread have thought my comments worth discussing further. So as long as I have something to say I will post. But I won't be using a real name or email address anytime soon, both because of not wanting to be falsely accused (again) of things I didn't do and because it seems "obc" and "John West" like to send spam and porn email to posters they don't like. I don't need the RL headache.
Posted by: Fact Check | 2007-12-29 10:26:16 AM
I am not talking about others. I am talking about you.
Why do you continue to post here when you have proven yourself to be a liar in the worst possible way - by pretending to be someone else?
You have zero credibility. No one listens to you because you are not to be trusted.
Posted by: epsilon | 2007-12-29 10:30:03 AM
Sometimes FC says something lucid, not usually, but sometimes. He appears to be lucid on this thread at least, leaving me to think that there may be Hope For Him after all.
If he refrains from posting under other people's nics he may even be a welcome presence on The Shotgun.
Posted by: Hoser | 2007-12-29 10:30:36 AM
epsi chooses "stalker". Duely noted.
Posted by: Fact Check | 2007-12-29 11:08:18 AM
I think someone has hi-jacked FC's nic and is posting reasonable dialogue today.
Posted by: wallyj | 2007-12-29 12:19:47 PM
"I think someone has hi-jacked FC's nic and is posting reasonable dialogue today."
Interesting. When I post comments that don't disagree with Shotgun readers' entrenched orthodoxies, I am considered to be engaging in "reasonable dialogue." But when I do disagree with it, I am called a leftoid and a troll.
BTW, wallyj, do you have any reasonable dialogue to offer? I'm just curious if you have anything to say about, you know, the SUBJECT of this thread. Or did you just stop by to post some sniping comment?
Posted by: Fact Check | 2007-12-29 12:48:39 PM
Who cares what Fact Check says. He is not to be trusted based on his abhorhent behaviour on this forum posing as other posters.
Go away Fact Check. You have no credibility here.
Posted by: epsilon | 2007-12-29 1:14:04 PM
Take a pill. I was posting on the comments,not on the actual subject.It is good to see that you are back to normal,offended and outraged.
Posted by: wallyj | 2007-12-29 2:00:15 PM
Note to the "ed" who made false accusations (in this thread: http://westernstandard.blogs.com/shotgun/2007/12/all-holy-things.html ):
You can either correct the record and post that I did not post as obc or you can deal with trolls like obc and epsilon shitting on comment threads and sidetracking discussions for the forseeable future. Your blog. Your call.
Posted by: Fact Check | 2007-12-29 2:43:21 PM
Who cares what you say Fact Check. You have been caught deliberately sabotaging this blog and it is time for liars like you to go away and never come back.
Posted by: epsilon | 2007-12-29 3:31:47 PM
Does your papers are in other by now ?
Posted by: Marc | 2007-12-29 3:40:23 PM
What on earth are you talking about?
Posted by: epsilon | 2007-12-29 5:33:29 PM
...so there I was getting a passport...
Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-12-30 9:53:20 AM
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