News and Press Releases

Former Notary Public Sentenced for Bribing County Clerks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2010

Memphis, TN - Amanda Cruz, a former Notary Public, was sentenced today for her role in bribing two County Clerks to obtain license tags and registrations for illegal aliens announced Edward L. Stanton, III, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee; Larry Godwin, Director, Memphis Police Department; Raymond R. Parmer, Jr, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and Amy Hess, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

United States District Judge Jon Phipps McCalla sentenced Cruz to 30 months incarceration and two years of supervised release. The Court also ordered Cruz to formally resign as a notary public and turn her stamps and seals over to the United States District Court Clerk’s Office within seven days.

On July 21, 2009 Amanda Cruz plead guilty to a two count information charging, Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud, Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341 and Conspiracy to Harbor Illegal Aliens in violation of Title 8, United States Code, Section 1344. At the change of plea hearing Cruz admitted she operated a business that prepared false and fraudulent documents to assist illegal aliens to obtain license tags for motor vehicles. This allowed the aliens to avoid being stopped for traffic violations or arrested and having their residence status in the United States questioned. Ms. Cruz also admitted that to further the scheme she regularly paid bribes to two different employees of the Shelby County Clerk’s office to ignore the obvious defects in the documents and to ignore the Clerk’s Office Rules and Regulations in the issuance of the license tags.

Mr. Stanton stated that “the conspiracy to bribe public officials to obtain false documents is a serious matter that has a corrosive effect on the operation of government and the public’s trust in their government. Because of this the United States Attorney’s Office will prosecute these crimes to the fullest extent of the law.”

"Public corruption drains our resources and destroys the confidence of our citizens. The Memphis Police Department will continue to share information with all agencies- local, state and federal in order to root out every source of public corruption. This individual not only preyed on vulnerable human beings seeking refuge in our community, she bribed government employees in order to entice them into supporting her scheme. Those who attempt to entice and bribe public servants should be held to the same level of accountability as those employees who make the decision to betray the public trust," said Director Larry A Godwin.

“The transportation and harboring of illegal aliens are serious crimes that we will not tolerate,” said Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., special agent-in-charge of the ICE-HSI Office of Investigations in New Orleans. ICE-HSI devotes significant resources to identify and bring to justice the criminals involved in transporting and harboring illegal aliens and we are committed to shutting down all vulnerabilities in our immigration system.”

“The successful outcome of this investigation is another example of Local and Federal law enforcement working together,” said Amy S. Hess, Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Those who abuse legitimate government services for personal gain will be held accountable for their crimes.”

Mr Stanton also commended Memphis Police Department Detective Mark Jordan for his dedication and exemplary work in uncovering and investigating this case. Detective Jordan worked for several months employing cooperating witnesses to uncover pervasive corruption at the Shelby County Clerk’s Office. He then joined forces with the FBI, ICE, the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office to prosecute these cases. Mr. Stanton also commended FBI Special Agent Robert Reich and ICE Special Agent Scott Partin for the excellent and dedicated work on a complicated and sensitive investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys John Fabian and Steve Parker.

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