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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mexican National who resided in Richmond sentenced to 57 months in prison for role in Violent Criminal Organization

Final Defendant of Sophisticated, Violent Fraudulent Document Ring

RICHMOND, Va. – Freddy David Santos Campuzano, 32, a Mexican National who resided in Richmond, Virginia was sentenced to 57 months in prison for his role in a violent criminal organization that specialized in manufacturing and distributing fraudulent identification documents.  Santos Campuzano previously pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Engage in Racketeering and Conspiracy to Launder Money.  Because he is illegally within the United States, he faces deportation following the service of his prison sentence.

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), Washington, D.C., made the announcement after the sentence was handed down by Senior United States District Judge James R. Spencer.  The Court granted the request of the United States for a variance, and sentenced the defendant above the calculated guideline range.

According to court papers, Santos Campuzano was 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 originally operated in the United States beginning prior to 2008 and continuing through November 18, 2010, and 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, Judge 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, for racketeering, murder, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to produce and transfer false identification documents. 
In connection with his guilty plea, Santos Campuzano admitted to helping the FDE restart its criminal activities in the United States following the 2010 arrests described above.  Beginning at some time prior to February 2012, Manuel Hidalgo Flores, also known as “Chino,” “Chimuelo” and “Julio,” began managing the organization’s 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.

Beneath Hidalgo Flores, Santos Campuzano served as the manager of the Cincinnati, Ohio cell.  In general, within each cell, the manager was 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.  The runners would relay identifying information and photographs from the client to the printer, who would create fraudulent identification documents for 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.  For example, Hidalgo Flores and other defendants connected to the Richmond cell admitted targeting a competitor in the Richmond, Virginia area on October 6, 2013.  The group identified L.G., who was selling fraudulent documents in competition with the Richmond cell.  A co-defendant posed as a customer and contacted L.G. about setting up a fraudulent documents transaction and then met with him at a designated location.  At the same time, Hidalgo Flores, and other FDE members, were surveilling the transaction.  The defendants planned to follow competitor L.G. after the transaction to find where L.G. produced fraudulent identification documents and intended to assault L.G. and steal his printing equipment with the intent to stop L.G. from selling fraudulent identification documents and to enhance the FDE’s control of the Richmond area fraudulent document market.

Unbeknownst to the FDE members, law enforcement officers were also surveilling the October 6, 2013 transaction.  Due to law enforcement intervention, L.G. was detained during a traffic stop and the FDE members fled the area.  According to his plea documents, Hidalgo Flores admitted that absent law enforcement intervention, he and his cohorts would have carried out their plan against L.G. 
To date, 42 members of this organization charged in the Richmond, Virginia federal cases have been convicted.  Santos Campuzano is the final charged defendant to be sentenced 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.  HSI received assistance from the Virginia State Police, Chesterfield County Police Department, and Henrico County Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Michael Gill is 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.

Updated March 26, 2015