United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Fresno and Madera Document Fraud Operation Dismantled
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
Friday, January 25, 2013
Docket #: :13-CR-00017 AWI
FRESNO, Calif. — Fresno resident Marco Antonio Quiahua-Panzo, 20, and Madera resident Omar Hernandez-Gomez, 26, were arraigned today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary S. Austin on a 14-count indictment charging the defendants with conspiring to transfer, possess, and sell false identification documents, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. Quiahua-Panzo separately was charged with being a deported alien found in the United States. They have been in custody since their arrest on January 17, 2013.
According to the indictment, between October 2012 and January 2013, Quiahua-Panzo and Hernandez-Gomez sold false identification documents to customers in Fresno and Madera Counties. The defendants took orders from customers for fraudulent social security cards and alien registration cards, also known as “green cards,” and ultimately sold fraudulent documents 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.
“For the right price, counterfeit document traffickers will provide anyone with a false identity,” said Mike Prado, resident agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Fresno. “This poses a potential threat to our communities and opens the door for identity theft that can wreak havoc on victims’ lives. Aggressively investigating those who seek to profit from these schemes will remain a top HSI priority.”
This case was the product of an investigation by ICE/HSI Fresno. 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 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.
The charges are only allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.