Brothers avoid jail over $6m fake stamp operation

Shaheryer (left) and Obaid Khan were minions for their older brother's counterfeit stamp business.

Shaheryer (left) and Obaid Khan were minions for their older brother's counterfeit stamp business. Photo: AAP

Two brothers left stuck with millions of fake stamps to package and send when their older brother went overseas have been delivered good news that they will avoid prison.

Shaheryer, 25, and Obaid Khan, 23, acted as minions for their older brother Faizan, who started an online counterfeit stamp business from their Melbourne apartment and then went back to Pakistan to get married in January 2021.

He left his brothers with 2.4 million stamps in 35 boxes, worth an estimated $6 million, and asked them to package up and post stamp orders when he received them.

They would take instructions from Faizan over the phone and package up parcels of counterfeit stamps and post them to customers, who believed the stamps were real.

Australia Post officials seized packages containing suspected strips of counterfeit stamps in February and March 2021 and referred the matter to federal police.

Six officers stormed the younger Khan brothers’ Brunswick East apartment in the midst of a COVID-19 lockdown, finding millions of fraudulent stamps in boxes inside a storage cage.

They placed Shaheryer on a toilet for more than three hours to question him, at one stage asking if he “wanted to do number ones or twos”.

After investigating, police discovered Faizan was the architect of the fake stamp scheme and the brothers were only involved in packaging and posting five parcels of the stamps, causing Australia Post and the Commonwealth to lose $10,340.

The two men, who are living in Australia on student visas, each pleaded guilty to one commonwealth charge of possessing paper or articles resembling postage stamps, knowing they were not postage stamps.

Faizan, who was the only person to profit from the scheme, remains overseas and has never been charged.

Prosecutors tried to argue Shaheryer and Obaid Khan deserved jail for assisting their brother in a “planned and premeditated” plot to package and distribute the fake stamps

But Judge Liz Gaynor rejected this and found their roles were “confined and unsophisticated” and they were acting under the control of their older brother.

“You did as you were told by Faizan who was the architect and in real terms the only true game player within this sophisticated enterprise,” she said.

Faizan was “an extremely lucky man that he suddenly got married”, she added.

“This would be an entirely different result if he were present,” Judge Gaynor said.

“The enterprise by him was an extremely serious one, he should be utterly ashamed for involving his brothers in it.”

The two men walked free from the County Court after she handed them a 12-month good behaviour bond without conviction.

If the brothers breach the bond they must each pay $1000.


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