United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe
Eastern District of Texas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: DAVILYN WALSTON
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2007 PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe PHONE: (409) 839-2538
CELL: (409) 553-9881
TWENTY-FOUR ARRESTED IN IDENTITY THEFT INVESTIGATION
TEXARKANA, TX – United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe announced today that 24 individuals have been arrested on complaints associated with identification document fraud and immigration violations in the Eastern District of Texas.
"The consequences of identity theft go far beyond the loss of money or property and can be just as devastating to American consumers and businesses as any violent crime," said U.S. Attorney Ratcliffe. "The prosecution of individuals engaged in identity theft will therefore remain one of our highest priorities."
“Identity theft cases like these show the link between illegal immigration and criminal activity which affects people like you and me," said John Chakwin Jr., special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Dallas “Victims of identity theft are robbed of their very financial stability, and it can take years to recover from this crime’s devastating effects.”
Maria Dominguez, aka ALDAPE, ARACELI
Maria Vega-Cruz, aka: MELENDEZ, IGXILA
Rosauro Moran-Rodriguez, aka: RAMOS, MERCEDES
Jose Ramirez, aka: ESCALANTE, CARLOS
German Yepez-Guzman, aka: IVAN DAMASO; aka “FETCH”
Gamaniel Basaldue-Reyes, aka: BLANQUET, MANUEL
Rigoberto Canada-Lopez, aka: BEDOLLA, YOSERIN
Rigoberto Carmona-Ramirez, aka: ALCON, RONNIE
Cecilia Perez-Lazaro, aka: CHAVEZ, NORMA
Emilio Mejia-Angulo, aka: RAMIREZ, ARTURO
Jose De Jesus Ramos-Castillo, aka: LEARY, JESSIE C.
Victor Martinez-Quinonez, aka: RODRIGUEZ, RENE
Jose Arellano-Vasquez, aka: ESPINOZA, GUILLERMO
Damacio Tomas-Quirino, aka: HEREDIA, JUAN
Jose Martinez-Ramirez, aka: JIMENEZ, BENJAMIN
Victor Perez-Sepulveda, aka: PEREZ, JULIO
Alejandro Claudio-Hernandez, aka: LOPEZ, JOHN
Norma Mendoza-Baldobinos, aka: ALVARENGA, EMERITA
Germahin Anguino: BARILLAS, OSCAR JR.
Silvestre Castro-Rodriguez, aka: AGUILAR, LAZARO
All were arrested in Titus County, except Cecilia Perez-Lazaro and Jose Arellano-Vasquez, who were arrested in Camp County. All were taken before U. S. Magistrate Judge Caroline Craven in Texarkana for initial appearances on December 11 and 12.
The complaint alleges that Totosaus-Rodriguez and Marcos Garcia were selling false identification documents to be used by aliens in the state illegally to assist in gaining employment, including such documents as Social Security Account cards and birth certificates. The documents were being obtained from various sources, including from out-of-state. According to the complaint, Jose Luis Garcia was denied entry into the United States in 2001 while trying to enter using false identification documents. Thereafter, he entered the United States without authority. Reyna Villarreal, according to the complaint, submitted an application for naturalization on which she admitted that she was a citizen of Mexico and certified that she had never claimed to be a United States citizen when, according to the complaint, she had previously indicated on an immigration form that she was, in fact, a United States citizen. The remainder of the defendants, according to the complaint, were fraudulently using identification documents, including Social Security Account numbers, that had not been assigned to them by the Commissioner of Social Security.
If convicted, Totosaus-Rodriguez and Marcos Garcia each face up to fifteen years in prison. Jose Luis Garcia faces up to two years in prison. The remaining defendants each face up to five years in federal prison. In addition, each faces a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted.
The case is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Division and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Gregg Marchessault, Denise Simpson, and Alan Jackson. Also assisting in the operation and investigation are: the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
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