SAN FRANCISCO – Federal authorities continue to devote resources to investigating and prosecuting federal passport offenses, announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service Special Agent in Charge Matthew Perlman.
The below listed defendants are part of more than 300 Bay Area residents who have been charged with false passport-related offenses since 2007. Illustrative of the cases being pursued are the following seven cases, each of which involves a defendant accused or convicted of misrepresenting their identity on applications for United States passports or committing related offenses in violation of either 18 U.S.C. § 1542, pertaining to making false statements on an application for a passport, or 18 U.S.C. § 1028, pertaining to fraud in connection with identification documents:
Victor Ortiz Soto, of San Jose, Calif., was convicted of applying for a United States passport using a fraudulent California ID card. In December of 2016, Ortiz Soto was sentenced to three years of probation.
Judith Hernandez-Castaneda, of San Jose, Calif., was convicted of applying for a United States passport using an unlawfully issued driver’s license. Hernandez-Castaneda was sentenced in May of 2017 to serve four months of home confinement and three years of probation.
Tendai Mashamba, of Mountain View, Calif., was convicted of possessing an unlawfully issued United States passport. Mashamba was sentenced to three years of probation in August, 2016.
Juan Palaminos Torres, of Sunnyvale, Calif., pleaded guilty in June of 2017 to applying for a United States passport using a previously unlawfully issued passport. He is scheduled to be sentenced by the Honorable Lucy H. Koh, United States District Judge, in San Jose on October 11, 2017.
Sukhvinder Singh, of Livermore, Calif., is alleged to have applied for a United States passport and to have made several false statements, including that he was born in the United States. Singh was arrested in January 2017, and pleaded guilty on June 28, 2017. Singh’s sentencing is set for 10:30 a.m. on October 11, 2017, before the Honorable James Donato, United States District Judge, in San Francisco.
CHARGED (Please note, charges described in this document contain only allegations and, as with all defendants, the defendants in the cases listed below must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.):
Efrain Cagal, of Sunnyvale, Calif., is alleged to have applied for a United States passport and to have made several false statements, including that he was born in the United States. Cagal was arrested in April, 2017, and his case remains in progress. Cagal’s next scheduled appearance is set for 9:30 a.m. on July 17, 2017 before the Honorable Kandis Westmore, United States Magistrate Judge, in Oakland.
Laura Selene Rios Flores, formerly of San Jose, Calif., is alleged to have applied for a passport in another person’s name and also is alleged to have used a fraudulently obtained a passport to travel. In addition, Flores has been charged with aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A. Flores was arrested in June, 2017, in Antelope, Calif., and her case remains in progress. Flores’ next appearance is scheduled for September 26, 2017, before the Honorable Beth Labson Freeman, United States District Judge, in San Jose for a status conference.
Anyone with information about false or fraudulently issued passports or entry visas, or the whereabouts of the above fugitives, is encouraged to contact the Diplomatic Security Service at (415) 705-1176.