A Mexican citizen who had been living in Marion was sentenced to more than four years in prison for operating a document mill that produced more than 1,000 false identification documents, as well as stealing the identity of another.
Martha Buendia-Chavarria, 44, was sentenced to 54 months in prison after previously pleading guilty to possession of false with intent to transfer false identity documents, possession of document-making implements, false claim of citizenship to obtain benefits and aggravated identity theft.
Law enforcement agents executed a search warrant in Willard in July 2017 related to an identity-theft investigation. The target of that investigation, Manuel Granados, eventually pleaded guilty to related crimes. Granados purchased false identity documents from Buendia-Chavarria in Marion, which he later resold.
Law enforcement executed a search warrant at Buendia-Chavarria’s residence in October 2017, where they located numerous false identification documents, five handwritten ledgers containing other peoples’ names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers, and in some cases, who the identity was sold to, according to court documents.
Forensic analysis of the printers and devices seized from Buendia-Chavarria’s residence indicated she produced more than 1,000 false identification documents, according to court documents.
Buendia-Chavarria also stole the identity of another person, which she used to make a false claim of citizenship.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Noah P. Hood following investigations by the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, in Sandusky and the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in Detroit.