A former federal bureaucrat has admitted in court to selling forged passports on the black market.

Emmanuel Villarceau, 39, of Ottawa, pleaded guilty Wednesday to 26 charges, including breach of trust, forgery and fraud. He couldface up to 14 years in prison.

Villarceau, who worked as an examination officer at the passport office in Gatineau, Que., sold the fake passports between December 2003 and June 2004 to Canadians living overseas, RCMP Sgt. Monique Beauchamp said.

The buyers allegedly paid up to $10,000 for the bogus passport, whichbore a false name.

"Whether they were going to use it for legal or illegal purposes, that is the question here," Beauchamp said.

Some of the buyers may have been barred from holding passports, she added, but there is likely not enough evidence to charge any of them.

Police haverecovered one of the passports,whilenine others have been identified and flagged so that they will be detected if used in the U.S. or Canada, Beauchamp said.

Villarceau lost his job at the passport office in November 2004. He was arrested in November 2006.

With files from the Canadian Press