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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Michigan

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Leader Of Fraudulent Immigration-document Ring Sentenced

           GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – Jacinto Morales-Martinez, 48, a citizen of Mexico who is also a previously-deported felon, was sentenced Tuesday to serve 60 months in a United States Federal prison for his leading role in a family-based document-trafficking ring that manufactured fraudulent immigration and identification documents for illegal aliens throughout Southwest Michigan. The scheme involved 11 charged defendants, all of whom have since been convicted of felonies including conspiracy to produce and sell fraudulent immigration documents, and of possessing and transferring such documents. U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker sentenced Morales-Martinez and included a 60-month concurrent sentence on a separate charge of returning to the United States after being deported following conviction for an aggravated felony.

           The scheme involved the defendants, most of whom were related and all of whom are themselves illegal aliens, producing high-quality documents such as Permanent Resident cards (“Green Cards”) and Social Security cards for persons they believed were illegal aliens. Despite their extensive efforts to avoid detection, a ten-month-investigation by the Grand Rapids office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) culminated in the execution of five search warrants in Holland and Grand Rapids in mid-June 2012, the arrests of 14 undocumented aliens associated with the investigation, and the seizure of two document-production facilities.

           In addition to the sentence for Jacinto Morales-Martinez, Judge Jonker previously imposed the following prison sentences: Juan Jose Morales-Martinez (34), was sentenced to 46 months; Ricardo Uriel Morales-Jimenez (21), was sentenced to 15 months; Rodolfo Esquivel (61) and Ledin Over Ovalle-Perez (29) were both sentenced to 12 months; Luis Alberto Morales-Jimenez (23) and Jacinto Jonathan Morales-Mendoza (19) were both sentenced to 10 months; Maria De La Luz Mendoza-Martinez (43), Giovanni Sanabria-Morales (29), and Amparo Mercado (36) were all sentenced to eight months; and Hugo Alexis Morales-Jimenez (22) was sentenced to six months. With the exception of Ovalle-Perez, who is a Guatemalan national, all of the Defendants are citizens of Mexico illegally present in the United States.

           Commenting on the sentences, U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles Jr. stated, “Illegal immigration remains a serious law enforcement concern of the United States Government. People who engage in the production and trafficking of fraudulent government documents for profit are a major part of the problem, not a part of the solution. This Office will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute such persons. The fact that this case was the fourth prosecution in a series of cases going back over eight years, directly reflects how relentless we are in shutting down the fraudulent document trade.”

           William Hayes, Acting Special Agent in Charge of HSI Detroit, added, “Document and identity fraud is a serious crime motivated by greed. It affects real people and has far-reaching, serious implications for law-abiding Americans. This final conviction shuts down a sophisticated document mill and holds all of the individuals involved in this criminal activity accountable for their actions.”

           The Grand Rapids office of HSI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Hagen W. Frank, who serves as the principal of the Identity Theft and Cybercrime Task-Force of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, prosecuted it..


Updated April 15, 2015