Manchester man caught using fake references in security licence appeal

On Monday 23 January 2023, Richard Mbembe-Babaku of Atherton pleaded guilty to fraud charges at Manchester Magistrates’ Court.

The court fined Mr Mbembe-Babaku £120, ordered him to pay £250 prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £34.

Richard Mbembe-Babaku was formerly licensed by the Security Industry Authority (SIA). His security guard licence was revoked by the SIA’s licensing team on 27 April 2022 due to two separate undeclared convictions on 30 June 2020. Mbembe-Babaku immediately lodged an appeal against the SIA’s decision. As he was unable to find legitimate referees, he wrote two fraudulent character references in support of his appeal.

The SIA’s licensing team were suspicious, as the references used the same font and form of words. The SIA began a criminal investigation into Mbembe-Babaku. Two investigators went to the addresses of the people who had supposedly sent the character references. Residents and neighbours revealed that the named people didn’t live at the addresses.

During an interview under caution on 21 July 2022, his second with SIA investigators, Mbembe-Babaku admitted his fraud and claimed that it was a market research experiment to see how to obtain an SIA licence. He owned up to inventing four references in total.

Nicola Bolton, one of the SIA’s criminal investigations managers, said:

The significant fraud element in this case heightens the risk to the public by Mbembe-Babaku. He attempted to obtain his licence on appeal using trickery and deception.

The SIA’s robust vetting process in reviewing his appeal, and the speedy and thorough investigation by our criminal investigation team, left the defendant no option other than to enter guilty pleas due to the overwhelming case against him.

He now has a criminal record and will not be able to work in the private security industry.