FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
FRIDAY - August 7, 2009
ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT SENTENCED IN FEDERAL COURT
TO 84 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR VISA FRAUD
AND IMMIGRATION CHARGES
WILMINGTON - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court on, August 6, 2009, ROBERTO DIOSDADO-STAR, a/k/a Roberto Diosdado, Robert Guerrara, Steve Collins, Julio Jorge Villareal, a citizen of Mexico, was sentenced by Senior United States District Judge James C. Fox. DIOSDADO-STAR had, on February 2, 2009, entered guilty pleas to both Visa Fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1546, and Illegal Reentry (subsequent to an earlier deportation) in violation of Title 8, United States Code, Section 1326.
Evidence presented by the Government in the hearing proved that during his most recent illegal stay DIOSDADO-STAR had devised and carried-out a systematic scheme to defraud other Hispanic immigrants. The evidence indicated that DIOSDADO-STAR had fashioned a United States Customs Border Patrol (CBP) uniform, complete with insignia, badge, and hat, as well as a Homeland Security shield, which he displayed on the screen of his portable computer. He then had himself photographed in the uniform, seated before the computer screen. He then repeatedly introduced himself to Hispanic individuals desperate to obtain immigration documentation for family members, promising to obtain the documentation for them and collecting thousands of dollars, in advance.
An investigation of DIOSDADO-STAR’s bank accounts corroborated witness reports that he had collected some $200,000 in the course of this scheme. A search of DIOSDADO-STAR’s computer, conducted pursuant to a warrant, revealed identification documentation for dozens of Hispanic individuals who may have been additional victims of DIOSDADO-STAR’s scheme. Most, if not all, of the those seeking the documentation never received them. The investigation indicated DIOSDADO-STAR had not had any significant lawful employment. Despite this, he had acquired several motor vehicles and a house in the Raleigh area. As is often the cases involving predatory conduct perpetrated on illegal immigrants, the investigating agents had a difficult time gaining the victims’ cooperation.
At the sentencing hearing, the Court granted the Government’s Motion for Upward Departure and increased the period of incarceration from a normal range of 4-10 months to 84 months. The Government contended that not only was DIOSDADO-STAR’s predation on desperate immigrants despicable conduct, but impersonating a CBP Officer could only increase the difficulty and danger every CBP Officer faces in carrying out their duties.
Mr. Holding commented, “We are gratified by the Court’s sentence in this case. We sought an increased sentence because of the incredibly manipulative manner in which this defendant committed this crime.”
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John S. Bowler.
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