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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Indiana

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Woman Sentenced In Scheme To Harbor Illegal Aliens


www.usdoj.gov/usao/inn/ CELL: (219) 314-9993


South Bend, Indiana —United States Attorney David Capp announced that Sandra Alfaro, 36, Indianapolis, Indiana, the owner of Servicios Mi Tierra, was sentenced by District Judge Robert Miller, Jr. to 39 months imprisonment on August 19, 2013 following her guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens and to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

Ms. Alfaro engaged in identity fraud by creating dummy corporations for illegal aliens so that they could register and title their motor vehicles in order to harbor, conceal and shield them from detection by law enforcement officials.Her scheme helped people who were in the United States illegally by sidestepping BMV’s requirement that the owner of a vehicle have a social security number before they would register cars and issue titles, and also sidestepped the BMV’s requirement that drivers have insurance.In order to execute the scheme, Alfaro created corporations by falsely representing to the Indiana Secretary of State that the aliens owned businesses and the purpose of the corporations.Between 2009 and the middle of 2011, she helped at least 300 aliens remain in the United States by helping them secure plates, titles and registration documents from the BMV.

In addition to creating fictitious corporations, Alfaro worked with Mr. Paulino Ascencion-Apolino, 23 of Elkhart, Indiana, in the South Bend and Goshen area by completing BMV paperwork for him and then processing that paperwork at BMV branches in Indianapolis.She notarized signatures that she did not witness and submitted forged documents to the BMV to falsify residency and insurance coverage.Ascencion-Apolino, also using the name Servicos Mi Tierra, had offices in South Bend, Elkhart, and Highland, Indiana from the Fall of 2010 to May of 2011. Ascencion-Apolino, who helped harbor over 100 aliens, was sentenced February, 2012 to 33 months of imprisonment and forfeiture of over $60,000 seized from several bank accounts for his role in the conspiracy.On March 16, 2012, Ramon Garcia, 39, of Berrien Springs, Michigan, who had been working for Ascencion-Apolino, was sentenced to 27 months.

“Sandra Alfaro blatantly abused legitimate government services to unlawfully obtain vehicle registrations for hundreds of illegal aliens,” said HSI Chicago Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Hartwig. “Identity fraud erodes the integrity of our nation’s immigration system and has far-reaching implications. This lengthy prison sentence demonstrates HSI’s resolve to work with our law enforcement partners to stop this type of criminal activity.”

United States Attorney David Capp stated, “The validity of identification and licensing documents is a critical law enforcement and public safety issue. We have an excellent working relationship with our federal law enforcement agencies and with the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.Their thorough and professional work here led to this result in federal court.This working relationship is ongoing and the United States Attorney’s Office will continue to prioritize these types of investigations.”

This case was the result of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Homeland Security Investigations, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and investigators with the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Indiana Secretary of State.This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kenneth Hays.

Updated April 30, 2015