Making Immigration Happen
Chicago Woman Arrested for Selling Fraudulent Identity Documents to Illegal Aliens
A woman was arrested Wednesday, February 13, 2013, on charges she allegedly sold fraudulent identity documents to illegal aliens. These charges resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigra

Tag Archives: alien harboring

Indiana Alien Harboring Group Arrested

Six people were arrested Wednesday, June 20, 2012, and charged with harboring illegal aliens as part of a conspiracy that allegedly obtained motor vehicle registrations, license plates and titles for illegal aliens. These arrests resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

The following defendants were each charged in an indictment returned June 14 with one count of conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens and one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud: Margarito Fuentes-Reyes, 50, of Goshen, Ind., and Omar Lagunes Duran, 34, Yalitza Exclusa Borrero, 31, Evelyn Rivera Borrero, 43, Raul Rafael Roman Camacho, 47, and Luis Omar Montes-Merino, 33, all from Indianapolis.

The indictment alleges that the defendants presented false information, forged documents and made false representations to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Indiana Secretary of State. They also made false representations regarding the identity of the actual owners of motor vehicles to obtain motor vehicle registrations, license plates and titles. By committing these and other crimes, the defendants concealed, harbored and shielded illegal aliens from detection and encouraged illegal aliens to enter and remain in theUnited Statesin violation of immigration laws. The conspirators operated at locations in Indianapolis and Elkhart, Ind.

The following agencies assisted HSI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in the investigation: the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the Elkhart Police Department, the Indiana State Police, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Indiana Secretary of State. Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the Southern District of Indiana also provided assistance.

The public is reminded that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

Texas Company Accused of Harboring and Employing Illegal Aliens

A Texas firm and its field operations supervisor were charged Tuesday, May 29, 2012, with harboring and transporting illegal aliens and conspiracy to commit those offenses as outlined in an indictment by the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Peter J. Smith.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE)  Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with participation from the FBI and Williamsport (Pa.) Bureau of Police.

GPX/GPX, USA, a seismic surveying company based in Sealy, Texas, and its field  operations supervisor, Douglas C. Wiggill, were charged with committing the offenses in Williamsport, Pa.

Court documents from the HSI investigation allege that in May 2011 GPX and Wiggill
hired 19 illegal aliens to work on a seismic surveying project in Lycoming County. The indictment alleges that GPS and Wiggill failed to verify the immigration status of the aliens and did not prepare the required Form I-9 and supporting documentation concerning the
aliens’ authorization to work in the United States.

“Homeland Security Investigations is committed to holding businesses and their managers
accountable when they knowingly hire an illegal workforce,” said John Kelleghan, special agent in charge of HSI Philadelphia. “HSI and our law enforcement partners will continue to ensure that employers follow our nation’s hiring laws, which ultimately protect job opportunities for the nation’s legal workers, and levels the playing field for those businesses that play by the rules.”

According to the indictment, GPX executed a contractor compliance agreement certifying
that all personnel were authorized to work legally in the United States when, in fact, they were not. On June 23 and 24, 2011, HSI special agents and officers of the Williamsport Bureau of Police arrested 19 aliens employed by GPX at, or in the vicinity of apartments rented for them in Williamsport by Wiggill and GPX. The arrests were the result of an investigation of one of the aliens by Williamsport police.

Wiggill, a 42-year resident of Ft. Worth, Texas, was taken into custody in Williamsport, Pa.
If convicted, he faces a maximum aggregate sentence on all 20 counts of the indictment of 100 years in prison, a fine of $5 million, a supervised release term of 60 years, and a special assessment of $2,000. GPX faces a total maximum fine of $10 million, a probation term of five years on each count, and a special assessment totaling $8,000.

An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Californian Couple Sentenced for Alien Harboring, Fraud, and Money Laundering

A Bay Area couple, who operated local elder care facilities, and two area real estate agents were sentenced Thursday, May 10, in federal court for their role in a far-reaching mortgage loan fraud scheme involving at least 20 northern California properties and more than $20 million in loan proceeds.

“Mortgage loan fraud has had a devastating effect on the United States’ economy,” U.S.
Attorney Melinda Haag said. “My office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to bring those who commit these crimes to justice.”

In February, Edith Nelson, 53, and her husband, Ronald Nelson, 76, who ran numerous residential care facilities, admitted in court to making fraudulent representations involving numerous real estate loans totaling in excess of $20 million. The charges are the result of an investigation involving U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)-Criminal Investigation.

According to the plea agreement, the pair owned and operated Placement Services, a
referral business in Pleasant Hill that placed elderly individuals in residential care facilities. In August 1998, the California Department of Social Services banned the couple from having any involvement in state licensed care facilities due to various violations.
Despite the exclusion order, the Nelsons continued to operate numerous such facilities using other people’s identities and acquiring new properties using straw buyers.

According to the plea agreement, the Nelsons maintained full control over the residential
care facilities by directing the straw buyers to sign grant deeds that either transferred the title of the property to Edith Nelson or added her name to the title. In addition, some of the straw buyers were instructed to open bank accounts that were controlled by the couple.

“IRS-CI takes mortgage fraud seriously. The impact of these types of crimes cannot be
overstated. Fraud in the mortgage industry has played a major role in almost crippling this nation’s economy,” said Marcus Williams, special agent in charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation. “IRS-CI is committed to pursuing individuals who commit this type of offense. Those who line their pockets with profits from these schemes should know they will not go undetected and will be held accountable.”

In addition to the financial violations, the Nelsons also admitted hiring illegal aliens to work as caregivers in their facilities. The caregivers worked long hours at less than minimum wage and often resided in the same facilities where they worked. Many of the Nelsons’ illegal alien workforce were paid under the table in cash and did not pay taxes.

“As the defendants learned yesterday, those who defraud our financial system face
serious consequences,” said Clark Settles, special agent in charge for HSI San Francisco. “These individuals callously exploited foreign workers; our nation’s legal immigration system; and the mortgage-lending process, all for their own enrichment. Justly, they are now going to pay a significant price for their crimes.”

Also sentenced Thursday, May 10, for their role in the scheme were two Bay Area real estate agents, Nelda Asuncion, 68, co-owner of Realty World Pacific West in Concord, Calif., and Cristeta Lagarejos, 49, owner of Legacy Financing in Pleasant Hill. The two women previously admitted participating in the mortgage fraud scheme with the Nelsons. They acknowledged preparing the mortgage loan applications in the names of the straw
buyers, using false information about the buyers’ employment, income and assets.

The sentences below were handed down by U.S. District Court Judge D. Lowell Jensen:

  • Edith Nelson – sentenced to 37 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of more than $5.2 million (plus interest and penalties on the restitution owed for income tax evasion);
  • Ronald Nelson – sentenced to 32 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of more than $5.2 million (plus interest and penalties on the restitution owed for income tax evasion);
  • Nelda Asuncion – sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $2.8 million in restitution; and
  • Cristeta Lagarejos – sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $318,000 in restitution.

The $5.2 million in restitution the Nelsons were ordered to pay includes restitution to lending institutions and other victims of the mortgage fraud; taxes owed based upon their income tax evasion and back wages of more than $1.5 million owed to 49 of the Nelsons’ employees and former employees.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah Douglas prosecuted, aided by Paralegal Noble Hughes and Legal Assistant Daniel Charlier-Smith.