News and Press Releases

Final Defendant in Sophisticated, Violent Fraudulent Document Ring Pleads Guilty to Racketeering and Money Laundering

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 29, 2014

RICHMOND, Va. – Freddy David Santos Campuzano, 32, a Mexican National who resided in Cincinnati, Ohio, pleaded guilty today to Conspiracy to Engage in Racketeering and Conspiracy to Launder Money.  Santos Campuzano faces a maximum of 40 years’ imprisonment, a fine of $750,000, and three years of supervised release when he is sentenced on September 10, 2014, by United States District Court Judge James R. Spencer.  Further, the defendant is illegally within the United States and faces deportation following the service of his prison sentences.

Dana J. Boente, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Clark E. Settles, Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), made the announcement after the guilty plea was accepted by Magistrate Judge M. Hannah Lauck.

According to court papers, this defendant is connected to a Fraudulent Document Enterprise (FDE) previously prosecuted in the Eastern District of Virginia in United States v. Israel Cruz Millan, Case No. 3:10CR308.  The FDE, which originally operated in the United States beginning prior to 2008 and continuing through November 18, 2010, had cells in Richmond, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Manassas, Virginia; Fayetteville and Little Rock, Arkansas; New Haven, Connecticut; Mishawaka, Indiana; Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky; Chelsea, Massachusetts; St. Louis, Missouri; Chapel Hill, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Wilmington, North Carolina; Cincinnati, Ohio; Providence, Rhode Island; and, Nashville, Tennessee.   The criminal enterprise was dismantled within the United States on November 18, 2010.  In the prior case and connected prosecutions, a total of 30 defendants were convicted.  On February 16, 2012, United States District Judge James R. Spencer sentenced the overall leader, Israel Cruz Millan to 300 months’ imprisonment.   On March 2, 2012, United States District Judge Henry E. Hudson sentenced Oliverez-Jiminez to two consecutive life terms in prison, after his conviction by a jury for racketeering, murder, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to produce and transfer false identification documents. 

According to court filings, the FDE restarted its operations while the Israel Cruz Millan, et al. case was still pending.  Beginning at some point prior to February 2012, Manuel Hidalgo Flores, also known as “Chino,” “Chimuelo” and “Julio,” began managing the organization’s operations in the United States, supervising operations in Richmond, Virginia; Springdale, Arkansas; Boston, Massachusetts; Raleigh, North Carolina; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Pawtucket, Rhode Island.  As in the previous case, the FDE produced high-quality false identification cards for distribution to illegal aliens.  In most cities where the organization operated, Hidalgo Flores placed a cell manager to supervise a number of “runners,” the lower level members of the organization who distributed business cards advertising the organization’s services and helped facilitate transactions with customers. 

In his sworn Statement of Facts, Freddy David Santos Campuzano, also known as “Chaparro,” admitted that, he operated in the Cincinnati, Ohio cell under the supervision of Hidalgo Flores.  Within that cell, Santos Campuzano, along with others, were responsible for distributing the fraudulent documents using information obtained from clients by “runners.”  The runners would recruit illegal alien clients who wished to obtain false identification documents, including counterfeit Permanent Resident Alien Cards (also known as “Green Cards”), Social Security Cards, out-of-state identification cards, and various international documents.  Upon identifying a specific client, a runner would relay identifying information and photographs from the client to the printer via cellular telephone or other method.  The printer would, in turn, use a computer and printer to create fraudulent identification documents for the client, depending on the nature of the order received from the client.  Once the documents were complete, the runner would usually provide the documents to the client in exchange for United States currency.  A client would generally pay approximately $150 for a set of fraudulent identification documents (such as a Permanent Resident Alien Card and Social Security Card).  Each cell maintained detailed sales records and divided the proceeds between the runner, the cell manager, and the upper level managers in Mexico.  In addition, the FDE used Western Union and MoneyGram to funnel criminal proceeds to Mexico.

The evidence during the Oliverez-Jiminez trial detailed how members of the organization sought to drive competitors from their territory by posing as customers in search of fraudulent documents and then attacking the competitors when they arrived to make a sale.  According to court filings, the FDE continued those tactics in 2013.  The First Superseding Indictment charges four FDE members, including Manuel Hidalgo Flores, with targeting a competitor in the Richmond, Virginia area on October 6, 2013.  That planned attack was thwarted, however, by law enforcement intervention. 

Counting this guilty plea, 42 members of this organization charged in the Richmond, Virginia federal cases have been convicted.  Santos Campuzano is the final defendant to plead guilty in the case. 

The case was investigated by the Richmond and Norfolk offices of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), which falls under the Washington, D.C., office.  ICE HSI received assistance from the Virginia State Police, Chesterfield County Police Department, and Henrico County Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Michael Gill and Trial Attorney Maria Gonzalez Calvet, of the Criminal Division's Fraud Section, are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.

 

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