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Driver's License Bureau employee and and associates plead guilty to federal fraud charges

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 18, 2012

St. Louis, MO - Yvette Roberson, Ricardo Ortiz and Jorge Pesqueda Perez entered guilty pleas to charges of providing State of Missouri drivers licenses to illegal aliens.

According to court documents, Roberson was a contract employee of a privately operated Missouri Department of Revenue Office in St. Louis County. Between March 2010 and December 2011, Ricardo Ortiz and Jorge Fabian Pesqueda Perez provided individuals who were illegally in the United States with the identifying information of United States citizens or lawful residents of the United States. Ortiz and Perez instructed the individuals to approach Roberson at her place of employment, and present her with the name, social security number and date of birth they provided to the individuals. Upon receipt of the information, Roberson issued the individuals genuine State of Missouri driver’s licenses and non-drivers identification documents. In one case, she advised an individual that the identity he wished to use had too many criminal warrants attached to it, and he should seek a different identity to use. Those who received driver’s licenses were not required to prove their lawful residency or their ability to safely operate motor vehicles. Roberson, Ortiz and Pesqueda Perez assisted co-defendants Elizabeth Cervantes, Rafael Moreno Guerrero, Magdalena Contreras Lopez and others with obtaining fraudulent State of Missouri drivers licenses.

In addition to pleading guilty to his involvement in the driver’s license scheme, Ricardo Ortiz also entered a guilty plea to having illegally re-entered the United States after having been deported. His wife, Melissa Ortiz, entered a plea of guilty to harboring an illegal alien. According to the plea, Ortiz had been deported at least three times prior to being arrested on the current charges in 2012. The deportations occurred January 12, 2000, April 19, 2000, March 19, 2002 and January 23, 2004. Throughout the various illegal entries and deportations, Melissa and Ricardo Ortiz resided together in the Eastern District of Missouri with their children. Beginning in 2008, Ricardo Ortiz used a fraudulently produced State of Missouri drivers license in the name of J.A.R. to conceal his unlawful residency in the United States. Melissa Ortiz and Ricardo Ortiz also used the identity of J.A.R. to jointly register vehicles in the name of Melissa Ortiz and J.A.R.

YVETTE ROBERSON, St. Louis, MO, pled guilty today to one felony count of conspiracy to defraud, one felony count of producing false identification documents and two felony counts of aggravated identity theft before United States District Judge Jean C. Hamilton.

RICARDO ORTIZ, a/ka Jose Ramos, Jr., Pacific, MO, pled guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to defraud, two felony counts of production of false identification documents, two felony counts of aggravated identity theft and one felony count of illegal re-entry of a previously convicted felon. His wife MELISSA ORTIZ, also of Pacific, pled guilty to one felony count of harboring an illegal alien.

JORGE FABIAN PESQUEDA PEREZ, of St. Peters, MO, and ELIZABETH CERVANTES, of St. Peters, MO, have pled guilty to related charges and await sentencing.

RAFAEL GUERRERO, Warrenton, MO, and MAGDALENA LOPEZ, Warrenton, MO, pled guilty to the misdemeanor charge of possession of false identification documents and were sentenced by Chief United States Magistrate Judge Mary Ann L. Medler on September 5, 2012, to one year of probation.

Conspiracy to defraud and harboring an illegal alien carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000.00 for each count. Producing false identification documents carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000.00 for each count. Aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two-year term of incarceration which must be run consecutive to any other sentence imposed.

In determining the actual sentences, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.

This case was investigated by the Missouri Department of Revenue Compliance and Investigation Bureau, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Assistant United States Attorney Tracy Berry is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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