Jail and deportation for fraud woman, 66, whose cover was blown at Chinese state visit

Gallego was sentenced at the Old Bailey on Wednesday

Gallego was sentenced at the Old Bailey on Wednesday - Credit: MPS

An illegal immigrant who worked at Mansion House was caught out ahead of last month’s Chinese state visit.

Fanni Gallego, 66, sneaked into the UK in the back of a fruit lorry in 1999. She paid a trafficker in Spain £3,000 for the ride.

The Columbian’s asylum claims were rejected by British authorities, but she was able to get work after buying a bogus passport and a fake national insurance card from the same trafficker.

The pensioner, of Balls Pond Road, Newington Green, fooled Ocean Contract Cleaning with the false documents in September 2009 and started working at Mansion House, the official residence of the Mayor of London.

Her cover was blown when police ordered a document check ahead of the UK-China business summit at Mansion House, which was attended by David Cameron and Chinese president Xi Jinping on 21 October.

Gallego was arrested on the day of the event.

She admitted fraud and possessing false documents and now faces deportation after she received a four-month prison sentence at the Old Bailey on Wednesday.

Most Read

Judge Michael Topolski QC said: “The less said about the checks they carried out on those documents, the better.”

He added the “tragic” story of how Gallego fled Columbia after FARC rebels murdered her brother and took the family’s farmland was “of little value” as mitigation, alluding to the recent deluge of migrants travelling to Europe.

“I’m sure you understand that the integrity of passports, particularly now, is so important. Use of a false passport and a false national insurance card is therefore serious,” said Judge Topolski.

He added: “It will almost inevitably mean at the end of your sentence you will be returned to your home country.”