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: DMV

Mass. RMV Worker Charged with Extensive Document Fraud

An employee of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles was charged Wednesday, July 18, 2012, with producing false driver’s licenses. The charge is the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Vanessa Peguero, 27, of Leominster, Mass., was charged with producing a false identification document. It is alleged that from February 2010 through June 2012, Peguero issued Massachusetts’ driver’s licenses to individuals who presented legitimate Puerto Rican identity documents in an identity other than their own. This was done in order to obtain Massachusetts’ driver’s licenses to conceal their true identities.

If convicted on these charges, Peguero faces up to 15 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

“Fraudulent documents give people the appearance of lawful immigration statuses and provides them with countless opportunities to which they are not entitled,” said Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of HSI Boston. “Anyone who fraudulently obtains a genuine government ID may pose a threat to public safety. This type of criminal activity allows dangerous criminals to obscure their identities and cover their tracks. Given the potential national security and public safety implications – since this type of crime often allows individuals who may not be in this country lawfully to obtain legitimate U.S. identity documents – Homeland Security Investigations, along with our law enforcement partners in Massachusetts, will continue to aggressively target those participating in or facilitating these types of crimes.”

U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, District of Massachusetts, and Special Agent in Charge Foucart made the announcement July 18.

HSI places a high priority on investigating document and benefit fraud. These types of fraud pose a severe threat to national security and public safety because they create a vulnerability that may enable terrorists, criminals and illegal aliens to gain entry to and remain in the United States. Document and benefit fraud are elements of many immigration-related crimes, such as human smuggling and human trafficking, critical infrastructure protection, worksite enforcement, visa compliance enforcement and national security investigations. Document fraud, also known as identity fraud, is the manufacturing, counterfeiting, alteration, sale, and/or use of identity documents and other fraudulent documents to circumvent immigration laws or for other criminal activity. Identity fraud in some cases also involves identity theft, a crime in which an imposter takes on the identity of a real person (living or deceased) for some illegal purpose.

HSI’s Identity and Benefit Fraud Unit is charged with investigating and disrupting document and benefit fraud schemes. It coordinates its investigative efforts with other U.S. Department of Homeland Security components, such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as well as other federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Labor. The unit also develops and advances policy initiatives and proposes legislative changes to address vulnerabilities in the immigration process to deter fraud and reduce the incentives for committing document and benefit fraud.

One of the fundamental challenges in combating document fraud at state-level department of motor vehicle (DMV) locations is the identification of employee misconduct. In order to enhance identification efforts, HSI developed an outreach campaign to raise awareness about employee misconduct and alert law enforcement to identity and benefit fraud schemes perpetrated at DMV facilities. HSI encourages the public and DMV employees to report corruption via the HIS tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE and via local DMV tip lines. Reporting this crime gives the public and employees an opportunity to be a part of the solution.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugenia M. Carris.

The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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.

30 Fugitives at Large for Document Fraud Ring

Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) are searching for 30 suspects in five states after three indictments were unsealed in federal court alleging their involvement in a scheme to illegally obtain driver’s licenses from New Mexico.

According to the indictments, the defendants were in the United States illegally, and traveled from South Carolina and surrounding areas to New Mexico to apply for New Mexico driver’s licenses. The indictments set out that New Mexico, unlike South Carolina, does not require proof of U.S. citizenship to obtain a driver’s license. It further sets out that the defendants obtained false proof of New Mexico residency, such as utility bills, and provided them to the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department when applying for driver’s licenses in New Mexico. Those defendants would then return to the South Carolina area, and co-defendants living in New Mexico would later mail them the fraudulently applied for and obtained New Mexico driver’s licenses.

Charged in one indictment are: Alma Rosa Ortiz-Calzada, age 54, and Jesus Ortiz, age 29, both of Charleston, S.C.; Ivon Baray-Luna, age 31, Alfred Padilla, age 47, Victor Alvarez, age 25 and Elizabeth Lopez a/k/a “La Guera” a/k/a “Betty,” age 42, all of Albuquerque, N.M.; Alfredo Saenz, age 39, of Rio Rancho, N.M. and Yusimy Valdez a/k/a “Yusimi” a/k/a “Lusimy” and Gavy Lnu, both with unknown ages and residences.

A second indictment charges: Marcos Medina-Zavaleta, age 23, of Hanahan, S.C.; Concepcion Prieto-Juarez, age 29, Alejandra Torricos-Cuellar, age 20, Juan Pablo Valladares-Martinez, age 31 and Gustavo Torricos-Vargas, age 41, all of Charleston, S.C.; Jose Alvarez-Robles, age 30, of Ladson, S.C.; Jorge Alvarez-Chavez, age 32 and Luis Alvarez-Robles, age 22, both of North Charleston, S.C.; Gonzalo Garcia-Gines, age 29, of Knoxville, Tenn.; Salvador Hernandez-Santillan, age 36, of Summerville, S.C.; and Fabian Sanchez-Hernandez, age 32 and Horacio Jasso-Hernandez, age 35, both of Mt. Pleasant, S.C.

A third indictment charges: Bulmaro Perez-Perez, age 35, of Doraville, Ga.; Darco Jordan-Tapia, age 32 and Marisol Pantoja-Loredo, age 23, both of Charleston, S.C.; Roberto Trejo-Lopez, age 22 and Arturo Trejo-Lopez, age 18, both of Chantilly, Va.; Ruben Trejo-Lopez, age 24, of Centreville, Va.; Jesus Octaviano-Leyva, age 40, of Charlotte, N.C.; Gabriel Sotelo, age 42, of North Charleston, S.C.; and Jose Luis Hernandez-Delgado, age 28, of Knoxville, Tenn.

The indictments allege conspiracy to transfer false identification documents and to transport illegal aliens; producing and transferring false identification documents; and, transporting illegal aliens. Conspiracy to transfer, and to produce, false identity documents, as well as the transfer and production of those documents, each carry a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment. Conspiracy to transport illegal aliens, as well as transporting illegal aliens, both carry a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

The indictments are the result of an investigation conducted by HSI and the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams of the Charleston office is prosecuting the case.

Fresno Woman Pleads Guilty to Role in License Fraud Scheme

A Madera woman pleaded guilty Monday, April 30, to making false statements to a
government agency in connection with a scheme involving the sale of official California driver’s licenses to ineligible individuals.

Cassandra Casarez Fierros, 19, of Madera, admitted to investigators she never took or passed a behind-the-wheel test, but received her license nonetheless. The charges are the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Investigations Division Office of Internal Affairs. The case is being
prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Henry Z. Carbajal III and Grant B. Rabenn.

Fierros was one of 13 people indicted in August 2011 for her role in the driver’s license fraud scheme. For a fee, a DMV technician electronically altered DMV records to reflect that applicants for “Class C” or “Class A” commercial driver’s licenses had passed required written and behind-the-wheel tests, when in fact they had not. Based on that information,
the DMV issued official California driver’s licenses to the applicants.

According to court documents, on February 25, Fierros told an HSI special agent and a DMV investigator that she never took or passed a behind-the-wheel test, but obtained her driver’s license from her uncle, a DMV technician. He provided it to her as a favor to her mother. But at another interview with special agents on June 23, 2011, Fierros recanted her prior statements. She told the special agents she had taken and passed the DMV written and behind-the-wheel tests in 2010 at the DMV office in Madera. She claimed she received her driver’s license via U.S. mail.

“Targeting schemes like this that enable individuals to illegally obtain legitimate U.S. identity documents is a top enforcement priority for Homeland Security Investigations,” said Clark Settles, the special agent in charge who oversees HSI Fresno. “Those who engage in this type of fraud are putting the security of our communities and even our country at risk.”

Fierros’ sentencing is set for July 9. She faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Charges are currently pending against Fierros’ uncle Alfonso Casarez and her mother
Rosemary Fierros as well as 10 other defendants. They are scheduled to appear in court May 21.

The charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and
unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Fresno Man Pleads Guilty to Fraudulent License Scheme

A Fresno-area man has pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges stemming from his role in a scheme to sell fraudulently obtained California driver’s licenses to ineligible  individuals.

Moreno Delgado, 31, of Riverdale, entered his guilty plea Monday, March 12. According
to the plea agreement, Delgado recruited people who wanted a genuine California driver’s
license but could not get one through legitimate means. Delgado would have them fill out the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) application form, and for a fee, he would pass the information and payment on.

Once former DMV technician and co-defendant Alfonso Casarez received the information
from Delgado, he electronically altered the individual’s driver’s license application to reflect that the person had passed required DMV tests that had never been taken or that the individual had failed. After alteration of the records, the DMV automatically issued and mailed a genuine driver’s license to the individual. Delgado admitted to recruiting three people for this scheme, one of whom received a Class A commercial license.

Delgado’s sentencing is set for May 29. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of five
years in prison.

This case is the product of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs  Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the California Department of Motor Vehicles, Investigations Division, Office of Internal Affairs. Assistant
U.S. Attorneys Henry Z. Carbajal III and Grant B. Rabenn are prosecuting the case.

Charges are currently pending against Casarez, as well as 11 other co-defendants. All
remaining defendants are scheduled for a hearing before Judge O’Neill May 21.