LEICESTER (Malawi NewsNow) — A Malawian woman Ms Bridget Mathanda, who is nine weeks pregnant, has been jailed in England for forging a a work permit and fraudulently obtained more than £1,000 worth of clothes and shoes using a stolen credit card.
According to Leicester Mercury newspaper, Mathanda , who pleaded guilty at Leicester Crown Court to possessing a false identity document, possessing an article, a bank card, in connection with fraud, and two counts of fraudulently using it. was jailed for nine months.
She also unsuccessfully tried to obtain £5,500 more items using the card, in nine attempted transactions.
Prosecutor Mr Alan Murphy told the court that Mathanda, who was staying in Leicester, came to the UK from Malawi in 2007 on a student visa.
At that time she was allowed to work up to 20 hours a week and got a job with New Horizon Care , as a support worker for vulnerable adults.
However, when the rules changed in 2012 and she was no longer allowed to work, she forged her residence permit to falsely show she was able to work, and extending the length of her stay by 12 months.
Mathanda, 31, also dishonestly used a bank card in the name of a former tenant at the address she was living at.
She ordered goods online for £532 in January and for £505 in February, for clothes and shoes.
Judge Philip Head said: “You’re an inherently dishonest person.You came here on a student visa and were entitled to work.
“However, when you were no longer allowed to work you carried out a determined and persistent exercise in forgery, scanning documentation and changing it to remove the employment restriction.
“There are many people who loyally abide by immigration rules in this country and you’ve cheated them because you decided to by-pass the rules.”
He said the credit card fraud was aggravated by the number of attempts made to dishonestly obtain goods.
Her barrister Mr David Watts, in mitigation, said Mathanda fled Malawi where there was a “turbulent political situation” and was claiming asylum to stay in the country.
Mr Watts said that when the bank card was delivered to her home, addressed to a former occupant, the situation “fell into her lap.”
He added: “She then fell into temptation.”