Document Trafficker Sentenced to Over 8 Years in Prison for Selling Fraudulent Documents Including Social Security Cards

Date: 
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Office Affiliation: 

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced Victor Lopez-Escamilla a/k/a “Mango Chupado,”and “Ventura,” age 39, of Brooklyn, Maryland, today to 97 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for manufacturing, selling and transferring fraudulent identification documents, including permanent resident cards and social security cards. Lopez-Escamilla is a Mexican national residing in the U.S. illegally.

At today’s sentencing hearing, Judge Quarles found that Lopez-Escamilla was responsible for over $140,000 in fraudulent documents and more than 250 victims whose social security numbers and immigration numbers were used on the counterfeit identity documents. In addition, Judge Quarles found that Lopez-Escamilla had obstructed justice by exposing the identities of witnesses.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein: Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Special Agent in Charge Michael McGill of the Social Security Administration - Office of Inspector General, Philadelphia Field Division; Special Agent in Charge John Schilling of the U.S. State Department Diplomatic Security Service - Washington Field Office; and John Kuo, Administrator of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration - Investigation and Security Services Division.

“To gain immigration benefits and lawful status in the United States is not something to be sold or bought,” said William Winter, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Baltimore. “HSI Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force will continue to go after these individuals that are jeopardizing our national security and investigate those that are seeking to obtain legal status fraudulently.”

According to court documents and testimony at his three day trial, from July 2009 to the spring or summer of 2010, Lopez-Escamilla sold fraudulent documents made by a group in the 200 block of South Broadway in Baltimore. Witnesses testified that Lopez-Escamilla solicited individuals in the Baltimore area to buy fake identification documents and Lopez-Escamilla was observed and photographed receiving and distributing fake identification documents. The evidence further reflected that in the spring or summer of 2010, Lopez-Escamilla began manufacturing documents himself in a “document mill” in his bedroom. Lopez-Escamilla received photographs and personal information from the individuals ordering the documents, which he then used to manufacture the fraudulent documents. Lopez-Escamilla generally charged between $100 and $150 for a permanent resident and social security card, and at least $100 for a fraudulent Maryland driver’s license.

A search warrant was executed at Lopez-Escamilla’s residence on May 26, 2011. Agents seized counterfeit documents, used ribbons showing documents that had been created, and equipment and supplies used to make counterfeit documents. Over 100 exhibits were presented at trial, including a Cheetos can with a fake bottom that contained numerous fraudulent identification documents.

On May 29, 2012, nine defendants are scheduled for trial in a related case involving the alleged trafficking in fraudulent identification documents on Broadway in Baltimore.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised ICE - HSI in Baltimore; SSA - Office of Inspector General; the U.S. State Department Diplomatic Security Service - Washington Field Office; MVA - Investigation and Security Services Division; and the Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County Police Departments for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Tamera L. Fine, who prosecuted the case.

Sources: http://www.justice.gov/usao/md/Public-Affairs/press_releases/Press12/Doc...
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/breaking/bs-md-ci-id-fraud-sentence-201...