United States Attorney David Capp
Northern District of Indiana
M01-204 S. Main Street
South Bend, Indiana 46601
Hammond South Bend Fort
Hammond South Bend Fort Wayne
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Mary Hatton
www.usdoj.gov/usao/inn/ CELL: (219) 314-9993
HARBORING OF ILLEGAL ALIEN/MAIL FRAUD CASE CONCLUDED
South Bend, Indiana —The United States Attorney’s Office announced the following activity in Federal Court:
This week marked the end of the case against five individuals who were convicted in February of conspiring to harbor illegal aliens and conspiring to commit mail fraud. District Judge Jon DeGuilio sentenced:
· Margarito Fuentes Reyes, age 52, of Goshen, to 48 months in prison;
· Yalitza Exclusa Borrero, age 32, of Indianapolis, to 24 months in prison;
· Luis Omar Montes Merino, age 34, of Indianapolis, to 60 months in prison, and
· Omar Duran Lagunes, age 35, of Indianapolis, to 84 months in prison.
Earlier in October Judge DeGuilio sentenced Evelyn Rivera Borrero, age 44, also from Indianapolis, to 24 months in prison.
Judge DeGuilio ordered all of the defendants to serve one year on supervised release following their prison sentence. Although three of the defendants are in the United States illegally, Duran, Montes Merino and Fuentes Reyes, the judge imposed the supervised release terms to monitor their conduct should they return to the US after deportation.
All five defendants were convicted of all counts of the indictment. The defendants presented false information, forged documents, and made false representations to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Indiana Secretary of State regarding the identity of the actual owners of motor vehicles in order to obtain registrations, license plates, and titles. The conspirators used false advertising, created thousands of business entities, used false notarizations on BMV forms, submitted fictitious insurance information, presented false vehicle sale price amounts to avoid sales taxes, and used intimate knowledge of BMV procedures to accomplish the crimes. By committing these and other misdeeds, the defendants concealed, harbored, and shielded from detection aliens who are in the United States in violation of immigration laws and encouraged aliens to enter and remain in the United States in violation of immigration laws. The conspirators typically charged their customers $350 and promised to register their vehicles in the customer’s name, but instead the conspirators registered the cars in the name of sham limited liability companies to avoid BMV scrutiny. The court found that the conspiracy victimized over 2500 individuals between 2009 and 2012. The conspirators operated in Elkhart, Goshen, and Indianapolis, Indiana.
“These sentences send a clear message about the consequences facing those involved in the illegal document trade," said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations in Chicago. “We remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent, detect and dismantle identity fraud schemes that adversely affect the public trust throughout Indiana and elsewhere. HSI will continue to move aggressively against those who put personal profit ahead of public safety.”
Inspector-In-Charge of the Detroit Division, Eddie C. Woodson stated, “The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is committed to aggressively addressing and investigating these criminal acts and the victimization of the American public. I applaud the interagency cooperation of all involved.”
These charges were the result of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the United States Postal Inspection Service titled “Operation Title Check.” Other law enforcement agencies assisting in the investigation include the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the Elkhart Police Department, the Indiana State Police and investigators with the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and Indiana Secretary of State. The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana was also involved in the investigation and assisted.