Guilty pleas in two document fraud cases

 

Five men pleaded guilty today in two separate cases of document fraud, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

In both cases, the defendants were involved in a scheme to produce and sell false identification documents. The documents were sold to customers for up to $124 a set that would include a forged social security card and an alien registration card.

These cases are the product of investigations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The Fresno County Sherriff’s Office Air Support Unit assisted in the second investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Baker is prosecuting the cases.

FIRST CASE:

Esteban Mendoza-Galeno, 44, of Fresno, pleaded guilty today to producing fraudulent government identification documents. He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill on May 28, 2013. The maximum statutory penalty he faces is 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

SECOND CASE:

 

Luis Mirabete-Pena, 24, Felix Santiago-Matias, 41, both of Fresno, and Benjamin Aparacio-Pablo, 26, and Othoniel Parra-Gallardo, 32, both of Tulare, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to produce and sell false identification documents in Fresno, Tulare and Madera Counties. They are the final four of nine defendants in this case to plead guilty after being charged early last year. During the course of the conspiracy, Mirabete-Pena, Aparacio-Pablo and Parra-Gallardo produced fraudulent social security and alien registration cards, while Mirabete-Pena, Parra-Gallardo, and Santiago-Matias distributed and sold the false identification documents.

All four defendants are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on May 13, 2013. The maximum statutory penalty they face is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

All sentences, however, are 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.

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