Two defendants pleaded guilty, and one defendant was sentenced in separate conspiracies to sell false identification documents, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
“The distribution and sale of counterfeit documents poses a significant security vulnerability, given that these documents can be used to mask individuals’ true identities and their potential motives,” said Mike Prado, resident agent in charge for HSI Fresno. “For that reason, dismantling document counterfeiting operations and holding those involved accountable continues to be an enforcement priority for Homeland Security Investigations.”
According to court documents, between October 2012 and January 2013, Quiahua-Panzo and Hernandez-Gomez sold false identification documents to customers in Fresno and Madera counties. They took orders from customers for fraudulent social security cards and alien registration cards, also known as “green cards,” using the photographs and biographical information provided to them by the customers. During the course of the conspiracy, Quiahua-Panzo and Hernandez-Gomez sold and delivered to customers at least 10 sets of false documents, charging between $100 and $180 for a set of fraudulent alien registration cards and social security cards.
Quiahua-Panzo and Hernandez-Gomez are scheduled to be sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on September, 2013. The maximum statutory penalty they face is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined after conviction at the discretion of the court following consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
These cases are the product of investigations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The Fresno County Sherriff’s Office Air Support Unit assisted in the case against Santiago-Matias. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Baker is prosecuting the cases.