Illegal immigrant from Chile in £620,000 theft bid in Britain
AN illegal immigrant tried to steal £620,000 from his Post Office bosses and put it in his girlfriend's bank account.
Pedro Reyes-Jofre, 22, committed the "naive" money-transfer scam in July when he was working at the company's office in Abbey Street, Accrington.
The Royal Mail Group has now launched an investigation into why it employed a man who was in the country illegally.
The defendant came to the UK on a student visa in 2003 from his home in Chile.
But Burnley Crown Court heard that he had now overstayed his visa and the Government was attempting to have him deported.
Hyndburn MP Greg Pope said the court case raised worrying questions.
He said: "It is very encouraging that the offence has been picked up by his employers but it does raise questions about the difficulties for employers of knowing that they are employing someone who is in the country illegally.
"It is quite distressing that someone who has come to the UK has then abused our hospitality as a country both by over-staying and then by committing this crime."
Reyes-Jofre, who lived in the Accrington area, admitted that between March and July this year he conspired with others to defraud the Post Office Ltd.
He tried to do this by dishonestly causing the Post Office bank account to be debited by £620,000 and causing the money to be credited to a personal account at the Alliance and Leicester.
He has been remanded in custody and warned he faces jail when he is sentenced next month.
The Royal Mail Group described the scam as "naive" and said it was picked up by security measures at "the most basic level."
It confirmed that an investigation was taking place into how they employed a man who was in the country illegally.
A spokesman said: "Post Office Ltd has robust recruitment procedures which involve establishing identity and vetting all applicants for criminal records.
"An investigation into this case is under way."
Reyes-Jofre's barrister Judith McCullough told the court all of the attempted money transfers took place on July 20.
Miss McCullough said the Home Office had served papers in respect of deportation on the defendant and she made no application for bail.
Reyes-Jofre will be sentenced on September 7 after a pre-sentence report has been prepared.
DEPORTED FOR FAKE ID SCAM