The black market, as well as the ordinary market, offers the goods for any taste and budget.
Two for the Price of One
The product will be cheaper, if it has already been in use.
“For sale – two Ukrainian passports with individual taxpayer numbers” – writes the author of one of the hundreds classified ads on the Internet. During our talk it turns out that the asking price is 100$ per item. The trader also tells that the documents have been left as a pledge and never taken back.
However, we can assert that such occasions are rare in Ukraine. Most passport traders have a well-run business. Here one can find a great range of passports: for women/ men, for those who were born in 1992 or in 1954 and other business schemes.
The Sale of the Ukrainian Passports Is Made on the Forum of One of the Russian News Websites
The man under the name of John Smith makes a sale of the Ukrainian passports on the forum of one of the Russian news websites, although, this is the criminal news. Mr. Smith freely offers one document or another, giving information about the passports’ status and previous owners (their sex, date of birth and place of residence registration). He prefers to sell “the duplicates of priceless commodity” in bulk and at bargain prices offering, for instance, to buy three men’s passports with Kyiv residence registration only for 250$. Business flourishes and the customers are satisfied. For example, one of them got such document for 100$ and left the following comment – “I received the parcel the next day, plus a gift! Another passport! I advise everyone! We worked on a prepaid basis. Prosperity and success in business! Thank you!”
Not everyone is so straightforward. We find an offer for sale of so called “second-hand” item and ask about the prices and availability. “From 100$ to 500$” – inform the traders by e-mail. – Buy a new sim-card, write the number and time to call you at your convenience”.
Easy money is the main purpose of selling other people’s identity documents. The aims of purchasing such documents are different. For example, the fraud with foreigners on dating sites (brides from Ukraine); but the most common is for taking out a loan (the criminal reports are full of messages like: “The citizen of Odesa stuck his photo in another person’s passport and cheated the bank twice”). Having some knowledge in legal sphere or a corrupt notary, one can register the whole enterprise, which takes part in money laundering, in the person’s name, whose passport fell into the wrong hands. It also gives a possibility for the real estate or other property fraud, etc.
Without any middleman
Another situation is with the new, so called made-to-order, Ukrainian passports. For a reasonable price, one can get a document with a needed name and photo. You will also get the identification taxpayer number and the birth certificate. The residence registration is included. One of the traders promises us “Kyiv registration” or adds “you can also choose”.
The price of such “pleasure” is 3500-4000 UAH. This is an ordinary price, although some traders offer a passport for only 2500 UAH.
The scheme is simple: The customer sends an e-mail, where he/she specifies the needed last name, first name, middle name, year and place of birth and attaches his/her photo (sometimes the signature sample). Then the customer makes a 50% prepayment (usually via WebMoney, Liqpay, etc.). The delivery time is quite short from 3-5 to 7-12 days.
“You won’t see any difference between this passport and the real one” – says Eugene, who will make a passport for 3700 UAH – “Everything is done in Kyiv for so called renewal”. Another trader, Anton, who wants 3400 UAH for the same document, confirms: “The document is completely legal and official.”
The documents are delivered by transport companies, such as “Nova Poshta (New Mail)”. The personal meeting is impossible.
“No, I won’t be able to meet face-to face, as I deal with you for the first time – apologizes Eugene – I can now send you a picture of the document without a 3×4 photo, as it has not been provided by a customer yet”.
Anton is more responsible. He does not offer to send us a picture of a fake passport: “Just imagine that you have ordered a passport and I’m showing it to everyone as an example. I think it will do you a lot of harm”. We also ask if this passport can be used for taking out a loan: “Sure, but you should remember that there is your photo”.
This caring man opens a veil of secrecy a little bit: he does not draw the passports, is not a middleman and provides you with real documents, which weren’t used by the state authorities. In January 2013 Anton has to sell the passports as if they had been issued in September-October of the previous year, since there is a direct connection between the passport serial number and its date of issue.
A little bit later the careless trader gives his phone number and an account number in “PryvatBank” for prepayment. He says that a personal meeting is possible, but he doesn’t guarantee it. He is a real catch for the law-enforcement authorities. However, they show no interest in the man’s activity or maybe this activity earns them some profit…
The most careful are “the most expensive traders”. Guys who ask 9300€ for one passport explain: “You need to go to the Czech Republic for two or three days”. There you will be able to give them a prepayment that is 4500€. They promise that you will receive a brand new Ukrainian passport within three months.
The similar services are provided not only by the mysterious Czechs but also by the lawyers, who will open you a door to a new life. However, they do not recommend taking a new name, at least openly.
For example, a well-known Kharkiv law company, which is listed among the partners of the Russian Legal Academy of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, can provide you with the Ukrainian identity card, for only 9000€, even if you have no legal grounds for gaining the Ukrainian citizenship.
The lawyers promise that the passport will be ready in six months. They explain that it is a court scheme, which studies your family tree and ancestors. “But I do not have any Ukrainian ancestors” – surprisingly asks the future citizen. “Your ancestors are our problems” – reply the company representatives.
* * *
According to Article 194 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, the forgery of the Ukrainian documents with their further use, production and marketing, is punishable by deprivation of liberty for a term of two years or by correctional labor for the same term. The same actions committed repeatedly, is punishable by deprivation of liberty for a term of five years with confiscation of property or without it.
The use of knowingly forged document is punishable by deprivation of liberty for a term of one year, or by correctional labor for the same term, or by a fine of up to one/ two hundred times of the minimum salary.