KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Liberty, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a conspiracy that produced and sold thousands of false identification documents to illegal aliens.
Cesar Mujica-Aranda, 25, a citizen of Mexico residing in Liberty, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple to the charge contained in a March 20, 2014, federal indictment.
By pleading guilty today, Mujica-Aranda admitted that he managed the production of counterfeit identification documents at his Liberty apartment from Sept. 1, 2013, to Feb. 21, 2014. He managed the production of the false identification documents and sold the documents to numerous street level dealers. The street dealers would typically pay approximately $50 for each counterfeit identification document and they would keep any excess proceeds they were able to obtain from the sale of the counterfeit documents.
Mujica-Aranda produced fraudulent Lawful Permanent Resident cards, counterfeit Social Security cards, and false driver’s licenses from various states within the United States as well as Mexican states. Conspirators produced and sold thousands of false identification documents to illegal aliens so that the illegal aliens could stay and work within the United States.
On Jan. 30, 2014, Mujica-Aranda threw away a white plastic bag containing shredded pieces of fraudulent identity documents in a trash can at a gas station at St. John Avenue and Belmont in Kansas City, Mo. Early the next morning, a federal agent located the bag in the trash can. The bag contained shredded pieces of fraudulent identification documents, and weighed approximately two pounds. Each piece was approximately the size of a small paper clip, and the shredded pieces were immediately recognizable as fraudulent Lawful Permanent Resident cards, Social Security cards, Missouri non-driver’s licenses and Kansas identification cards. The agent also discovered two reels of depleted color card printer ribbon within the shredded pieces. One reel had images of fraudulent Lawful Permanent Resident cards. Mujica-Aranda’s fingerprints were on items contained in the bag.
Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Mujica-Aranda must pay a money judgment for the total amount of money that was obtained by this fraudulent identification document enterprise. The Department of Homeland Security is still evaluating ink ribbons that were seized as part of the investigation and has already identified thousands of identification documents that were produced by the conspiracy. By the time of sentencing, the government may have a better estimate on how many identification documents it can establish were produced by the conspiracy. The Court may elect to multiply this number by how much the conspiracy was selling the false documents to aliens. By Mujica-Aranda’s own admission, the documents were sold for no less than $100 per document.
Mujica-Aranda must also forfeit to the government all of the equipment that was used to produce fraudulent identification documents, including three computers, a computer hard drive, printers, four cameras, six cell phones, electronic storage devices and other miscellaneous equipment and supplies, and $1,840.
Under federal statutes, Mujica-Aranda is subject to a sentence of up to 15 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney William A. Alford III. It was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, the Kansas Department of Revenue – Office of Special Investigations, the Missouri Department of Revenue – Compliance Investigation Bureau and the Clay County, Mo., Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.