Indian national Sapna Kapoor sentenced to jail for attempting passport fraud and making false statement to passport officer

 

 

She wanted issuance of her child’s passport to take him to India after separating from her husband

 

 

SAPNA Kapoor, 44, an Indian national, has been sentenced to sentence to a jail term of six months less a day, or 179 days, followed by a three-year probation order by BC Supreme Court Justice Murray Blok for attempting to utter a forged passport application, and making a false statement to a passport officer.

Kapoor was convicted by a jury on January 8, 2021, on these two counts.

According to the ruling that was recently released, at the time of these offences, Kapoor had very recently separated from her husband, Sonam Makkar.  The relationship was very brief as there were just 16 months between the date of the marriage and the date of separation.  They had a son, who was born in June 2017. The marriage was difficult and fractious. They separated in early September 2017 in highly acrimonious circumstances.

According to the oral reasons given by the judge, the evidence shows Kapoor attended at a passport office in Surrey on September 27, 2017, and presented a passport application for their infant son.  That application bore a purported signature of the child’s father.  The matter had been flagged by an alert system that Makkar had initiated with Passport Canada, and so the application was not processed in the end.

The verdict of the jury necessarily means that they were satisfied that Kapoor attempted to cause the Passport Program to use a passport application; the application was forged; Kapoor knew it was forged; and she presented the application with the intent that the application be used or acted upon as if it were genuine.

The second offence was committed a few days later. The flagged passport application caused passport officials to make further inquiries.  A passport officer performed a parental verification check by phoning Kapoor, who told the officer that Makkar was not available, that he had left the country, but he had signed the passport application.  That statement was false.

The judge pointed out in the ruling that the verdict of the jury establishes that Kapoor made an oral statement to a passport officer that Makkar signed the application; Kapoor made the statement for the purpose of procuring a passport for their son; the statement was false; and Kapoor knew it was false.

 

THE ruling noted that Makkar provided a victim impact statement.  To summarize it very briefly, Makkar said he has lived in constant fear that Kapoor might try to abduct their child back to India, a country which is not a signatory to the Hague Convention.  He noted Kapoor has shown little respect for Canadian courts and Canadian laws, including violating her release conditions, and she has conducted herself in many other unscrupulous ways that have heightened his concern that she will abduct their child.

The judge said Kapoor is 44 years old.  She was born in India and is an Indian national.  She is well educated, having earned a master’s degree in business administration, and from about 2013 to perhaps 2017 or 2018, she worked with an international business consulting firm as a software consultant.  In the latter part of that employment, she was located in the United States.

Her counsel informed the court that Kapoor is currently not working.  She is said to be caring for her sick father.

Counsel said these proceedings have impacted Kapoor greatly as she has lost her job and lost her immigration status.  Counsel also said that Kapoor suffers from depression and anxiety.

 

THE judge noted that Kapoor is unremorseful, which was not an aggravating factor, but this, together with her other attributes, led the judge to conclude that she is unlikely to comply with the conditions of a Conditional Sentence Order. The judge said that the fact that she was non‑compliant, defiant, and at times essentially ungovernable during the trial reinforces this view.

He added that she seems to have no insight into her criminal behaviour and she does not acknowledge what she has done or the harm she has done, and instead she blames others, particularly Makkar.  She claims to have acted out of motherly love and that there was no risk of child abduction, but she has failed to recognize that her conduct reasonably gave rise to those very fears, according to the ruling.

The judge said that in these circumstances, he concludes that only actual jail time would meet the sentencing objective of specific deterrence.

He said that Kapoor may already have done irreparable damage to her future immigration status, but he is satisfied he can impose a sentence that meets all sentencing objectives here without creating potential immigration consequences.

Accordingly, Kapoor was sentenced to a jail term of six months less a day, or 179 days, followed by a three-year probation order.

The sentences will be the same for each count and they will be concurrent as the offences are essentially part of the same offending, the judge noted.

The conditions of the probation order include that she will remain in British Columbia unless she has the written permission of her probation officer; she is not to remove, or permit any other person to remove her son from British Columbia or Canada; she is not to take the child in a vehicle or permit any other person to take the child in a vehicle more than 50 kilometres from her residence; and she is not to attend within a two‑kilometre radius of the Vancouver International Airport or within 100 metres of the Canada‑U.S. border when the child is in her custody or care.

Also, she has to deposit her passport to her probation officer within 48 hours after the commencement of probation.  The passport shall remain in the custody of the probation officer, except for authorized travel, and will be provided 48 hours prior to departure upon confirmation that the child is with his father. She must return your passport to the probation officer within 24 hours of returning to Canada.  She will not have custody or care of the child during any periods that she is in possession of her passport.

 

Full ruling at:

https://www.bccourts.ca/jdb-txt/sc/21/25/2021BCSC2516.htm

 

 

 

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