GEORGE E. B. HOLDING
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
TUESDAY - August 28, 2007
Arrests Announced In Operation Namesake
RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E. B. Holding announced today that his office has obtained Criminal Complaints charging 28 individuals with identity theft and various immigration violations. These individuals were arrested on August 22, 2007 by agents of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as part of an operation which focused on individuals who were working at the Smithfield Processing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina and who had, as part of the commission of other crimes, transferred, possessed or used the identification of someone else in violation of federal law. The United States Attorney will ask the federal grand jury to consider these cases in the near future.
Mr. Holding addressed the problem of identity theft as follows: “The theft of an individual’s identity where one assumes another person’s name, social security number, or other critical information, compromises our security and can cause untold problems for the real owner of that information. It is particularly troubling when individuals come to this country illegally and then prey upon others while here. My office is committed to aggressively pursuing those who engage in this type of criminal activity.”
“Investigations like this are particularly important to protect U.S. citizens from identity theft,” said Kenneth Smith, Special Agent in charge of ICE’s Office of Investigation overseeing North Carolina. “ICE is determined to aggressively seek those who enter the country illegally and victimize others by committing identity theft.”
The individuals arrested on August 22, 2007 face, among other penalties, a sentence of two years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, or both, if convicted. A Criminal Complaint is a charging instrument and reflects a finding by a federal judge that probable cause exists to believe that these individuals have committed the crimes charged. All individuals charged today are entitled to a presumption of innocence throughout these proceedings.
Investigation of the case was conducted by Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Assistant United States Attorneys James Candelmo, John Bowler, David Hayden and Eric Evenson will prosecute the cases for the United States.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.