United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Madera Document Fraud Operation Dismantled
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
Monday, December 17, 2012
Docket #: 1:12-CR-437-LJO
FRESNO, Calif. — Madera residents Antonio Mora-Cruz, 45, and Soledad Vargas-Herrera, 59, were arraigned on Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Shelia K. Oberto on a 12-count indictment that charged them with conspiring to produce and sell false identification documents, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced today.
Mora-Cruz separately was charged with being a deported alien found in the United States. The defendants have been in custody since their arrest on December 4, 2012.
According to the indictment, between November and December 2012, Mora-Cruz and Vargas-Herrera produced false identification documents at a residence in Madera that they used as a fraudulent document mill. During the course of the conspiracy, customers would place orders for false documents directly with Mora-Cruz and Vargas-Herrera. The defendants took photographs and biographical information from the customers and used that information to produce fraudulent social security cards and alien registration cards, also known as “green cards.” Mora-Cruz and Vargas-Herrera then delivered the completed false documents to customers, charging approximately $120 for a set of false documents.
This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Baker is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum statutory penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined 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.
The charges are only allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.