The guy lied — the guy got fired. End of story. No empathy.
But I also want to point out that the company has big issues. Firstly, why would you allow somebody to start before they bring you the whole set of documents. Secondly, it is obvious to me, that the guy has not given his formal consent to contact their previous employer. If I were to find out that somebody contacts my ex-employer, my GF or my mom without my permission, I would make a huge public scandal out of it.