Three Pakistani brothers have been described as the so-called “architect” and “minions” of a massive scam related to Australian postage stamps.
The County Court was told that the brothers came from a wealthy family in Karachi and the news shocked their parents.
While the architect, 26-year-old Faizan Khan, has left Australia, police have taken to court his two “minions” – 23-year-old Obaid and 25-year-old Shaheryer who were studying business degree at La Trobe University.
The County Court was told that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) raided the two brothers’ Brunswick East apartment complex in March 2021.
As per ABC, Prosecutor Simone Tatas told the court that AFP found 35 boxes filled with counterfeit Australian postage stamps.
“Police determined the number of seized stamps was approximately 2.4 million Australian stamps of various denominations with a face value of approximately $6 million.”
Earlier, the Magistrate’s Court was told that the investigators seized $30,000 worth of watches, including a Rolex, a bag of 20 SIM cards, and intercepted four parcels of stamps worth more than $100,000.
Then despite concerns raised by prosecutors that the brothers might flee or try to destroy evidence, Magistrate Swadesir released the brothers on bail with strict conditions. This included that the brothers surrender their Pakistani passports, report daily to a police station, and not leave Australia.
It has now been revealed in court that the eldest brother Faizan ordered “high quality” fake Australian stamps from the online wholesaler Alibaba.
These fake stamps were then sold these fakes to local unsuspecting customers at a bargain price.
In January 2021, Faizan left Australia for Pakistan to get married and still allegedly continued to manage the illegal operation by giving instructions to his younger brothers.
The two younger brothers, according to Ms Tatas, were responsible to package up the orders and post them out.
However, Penny Marcou, the two brothers’ barrister, told the court that they speak limited English and were allegedly questioned without an interpreter present.
In terms of the scam, the barrister said:
“They saw no money from it. They weren’t involved in the actual sales or anything to that level.”
The two brothers’ student visas have been canceled by the federal government and they may now face a maximum of five years in prison for possessing counterfeit postage stamps.
The County Court Judge Gaynor described this scam as “a possible assault on the Australian postal system”:
“They’ve engaged in an enterprise that has the potential to undermine the Australian postage system.”
Shaheryer and Obaid Khan will be sentenced on 16 August 2023.
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