On the 20 August 2019 Lee Brown, 29, of Belfast pleaded guilty to five offences of fraud, forgery and counterfeiting licences belonging to other people at Laganside Magistrates’ Court, following a prosecution the SIA brought against him.
He was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment (on each count), served concurrently suspended for 12 months. He was also required to pay £174 court costs within six months.
Brown provided his employer with an SIA Close Protection licence when he applied for a job in March 2018. However, the licence belonged to a different “Lee Brown”, another man with the same name who was unaware that Brown had stolen his identity.
Brown then worked as a security guard and door supervisor in the Belfast area until June 2018, when the original licence expired which Brown was using fraudulently. An approved contractor, SecuriGroup, whose compliance department correctly identified the fraudulent Door Supervisor Licence reported it directly to us. They were immediately suspicious, noting the design of Brown’s “new” licence had been discontinued in 2016.
The suspicion was confirmed when the licence number was checked using the online licence checking tool. They discovered that it had been issued to a different individual named ‘L.Brown’.
Brown admitted to his employer that he had bought both licences from a contact in Belfast for £700, and that he hadn’t completed the proper training required. When the SIA investigators contacted him, he gave the same story and agreed to be interviewed. However, he failed to attend two arranged interviews.
Pete Easterbrook, one of the SIA Criminal Investigation Managers, said
“Lee Brown stole the identities of not one, but two genuine SIA licence holders in order to fraudulently gain employment. He assumed that the counterfeit licences he managed to obtain were of sufficient quality to allow him to operate within the security industry with impunity, however, he was wrong in this assumption. I would like to thank SecuriGroup for reporting their suspicions.
“I would urge others who may be considering following Mr Brown’s example to think very carefully indeed before doing so. As yesterday’s result has shown, you are very likely to be found out, and we will have no hesitation in taking robust action; against anyone who undermines the licensing regime in this.”
Laganside Magistrates’ Court District Judge, George Conner, said:
“The Private Security Industry Act 2001 is there to protect the public. Those who work in the private security industry should be legitimately licensed.”
He added: “The matters were of a serious nature and as such must consider a custodial sentence.”