Members of a Cobb County Counterfeit Document Production Ring Sentenced to Prison
ATLANTA - Four members of a Cobb County document fraud ring that made and sold counterfeit social security cards, permanent resident cards, and other fake identification documents were sentenced to federal prison today by United States District Judge Steve C. Jones on a charge of conspiring to produce fraudulent identification documents, announced United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. The defendants sentenced were Ruben Osorno Altamirano, 31; Jose Luis Israel Legoretta Castillo, 31; Juana Hernandez Fonseca, 40; and Jose Molina Vasquez, 33; all of Mexico.
United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “Manufacturing counterfeit identification documents is a serious problem in our community. These defendants ran an operation that enabled many illegal aliens to get their hands on identification that made it appear as if they were legally in the United States. This crime creates impacts our community in many ways, not the least of which is the negative impact on the credit history and financial well-being of people whose Social Security Numbers were unlawfully used on the counterfeit documents. I encourage everyone to regularly check their credit report for unusual activity.”
“This case highlights our commitment to protecting both the integrity of our immigration system and our national security,” said Brock D. Nicholson, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Atlanta. “HSI will continue to aggressively investigate individuals that engage in document fraud schemes that undermine the integrity of our nation's legal immigration system and enable criminals and other national security threats to obscure their identities.” Nicholson oversees HSI activities in Georgia and the Carolinas.
“This case demonstrates the wide-reaching effects of the manufacturing and selling of counterfeit identification documents and its impact on innocent victims and our communities. The importance of cooperation among our law enforcement partners remains paramount to our ability to catch those that are involved in these types of fraudulent activities,” said Reginald Moore, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service Atlanta Field Office.
“This result puts a significant dent in a large and widespread criminal enterprise. I want to thank the investigators and the lawyers for their work in prosecuting this case. It is important that we all continue and redouble our efforts in this area,” said John Sours, Administrator, Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection.
The court imposed the following sentences on the defendants, each of whom had previously pleaded guilty:
- Ruben Osorno Altamirano was sentenced to 28 months in prison to be followed by 2 years of supervised release.
- Jose Luis Israel Legoretta Castillo was sentenced to 10 months in prison to be followed by 2 years of supervised release.
- Juana Hernandez Fonseca was sentenced to 9 months in prison to be followed by 2 years of supervised release.
- Jose Molina Vasquez was sentenced to 10 months in prison to be followed by 2 years of supervised release.
Four additional co-defendants in the scheme, Tiburcio Martinez Santos, 21, Isidoro Espinoza Araujo, 44, Mauricio Jonathan Espinoza Hernandez, 20, and Edgar Marquez Salazar, 37, all of Mexico, have also pleaded guilty and await sentencing on various dates over the next three months.
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: In January 2010, the Metro Cobb Smyrna Task Force supplied information to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) about an organization selling counterfeit identification documents, including Social Security cards and Permanent Resident Cards. The organization used a coin laundromat located in Smyrna, Georgia to facilitate the sale of the counterfeit documents. The organization offered their services to illegal aliens who frequented the laundry facilities. Between March 16, 2010, and August 18, 2011, HSI Agents, United States Secret Service Agents, and Investigators with the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection purchased counterfeit identification documents from members of the organization at various locations in Cobb County, Georgia as part of an undercover operation.
The documents purchased from the organization included Social Security cards, Permanent Resident Cards and State of Georgia Driver's Licenses. Through the use of physical surveillance as well as video surveillance, agents determined the location of the organization’s counterfeit document production facility. On September 8, 2011, agents executed a search warrant at an apartment complex in Marietta, Georgia. During the search of the apartment, agents recovered document making equipment, including computers and printers, and recovered electronic files containing over 2000 images of fraudulent identification documentation, including Social Security cards, Permanent Resident Cards, birth certificates, driver’s licenses from over twenty states, and various other identification documents. Agents also recovered firearms.
This case was investigated by law enforcement agents of Homeland Security Investigations - Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force, the United States Secret Service, and the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection.
Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey A. Brown prosecuted the case.