Woman says poverty forced her to get fake passport

July 22, 2022

A woman pleaded guilty to applying for a passport using a fake name, saying that she had no choice as she needed to provide for her two children and sickly mother.

Shamaine Smith told Chief Parish Judge Chester Crooks that at the time when she applied for the fake passport, she already had one in her given name.

"But I travelled on that passport to Trinidad. I overspend my time there because I had no choice at the time. So when I come back, I am a single mother, Your Honour, I had two boys and at the time, the situation was very bad and I was caring for my mother who is sickly and I wasn't able to go back [to Trinidad] on my correct passport. So that is when I get the fake passport," she shared yesterday in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court.

Smith pleaded guilty to obtaining a passport by means of a false document, making a false declaration and two counts of uttering a forged document. The court heard that Smith tendered a forged birth certificate in the name Tanya Teddesha Tugman when she applied for a passport in 2015. She travelled twice using the fake passport in 2015 and 2017. She informed the court that when she returned to Jamaica, she immediately destroyed the fake passport.

"I've never understood why people have to do this. Every Jamaican is entitled to a passport, the worst that can happen is that the form is not filed out properly. But every Jamaican is entitled to a passport," Crooks said. Smith was fined $10,000 or six months' imprisonment for making a false declaration. For the offence of obtaining a passport by means of a false document, she was fined $100,000 or six-months' imprisonment. On each count of uttering a forged document, Smith was fined $100,000 or six-months' imprisonment.

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