A Haitian man was arrested for identity fraud after red flags were raised during his citizenship interview, a magistrate heard yesterday.
Immigration officer Alton Forbes testified that he conducted a citizenship interview with a man who identified himself as Ricardo Phillips on October 18, 2019.
Forbes said he noticed that Phillips’ responses did not match the information on the corresponding file.
Forbes said that Phillips claimed he did not have any uncles or aunts, but there were affidavits from an alleged aunt and uncle to confirm that Ricardo Alex Phillips and Ricardo Phillips were the same person.
Forbes recalled, “I asked him when he came to The Bahamas and he said 2003. Then, afterwards, he said he was born in The Bahamas.”
Forbes said the man replied that he never attended school here although a letter from Uriah McPhee Primary School confirming his attendance was on the file.
Forbes said the date of birth on the Haitian passport that “Phillips” presented did not correspond with the age he provided.
Forbes said based on the inconsistent responses, he told the man that he doubted that he was Ricardo Phillips.
To that, the man replied, “I was born in The Bahamas and I wouldn’t lie to immigration.”
Forbes said based on these discrepancies, the man was detained.
In cross-examination, the man maintained that the responses that he provided to Forbes were consistent with information on his file.
Investigating officer Constable 3386 Dencil Major said he made checks with the Registrar General’s Department, the records department at Princess Margaret Hospital and the Haitian Embassy.
Major said that Acting Assistant Registrar Wellington Smith located a birth certificate in the name of Ricardo Phillips. However, he said there was a directive not to issue copies of the birth certificate.
Major said he spoke to Antoinette Bowe, the chief medical records officer at the hospital, and she confirmed that no one by the name of Claudia Phillips had given birth to a baby boy.
He said he interviewed the suspect, who said he was born in The Bahamas and that he did not attend school in The Bahamas.
As a result, Major said he charged “Phillips” with possession of forged documents, uttering forged documents and fraud by false pretenses.
The case continues before Senior Magistrate Carolyn Vogt-Evans.