Mexican Accused of Leading Document-Fraud Ring

Jerry Seper, Washington Times, July 26

The Mexican national indicted by a federal grand jury in a multimillion-dollar scheme to distribute millions of phony identification documents to illegal aliens in the United States is, according to authorities, a leader of a crime syndicate that specializes in document fraud.

Pedro Castorena-Ibarra, 42, is accused of heading a franchise operation that sold bogus but “high quality” Social Security documents, resident alien and Mexican matricula consular ID cards, driver’s licenses, birth certificates, marriage licenses, work authorization documents, proof of vehicle insurance cards, temporary vehicle registration documents, and utility bills from both Mexico and the United States.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, who sought the indictment after a lengthy investigation, said millions of phony documents were sent to illegal aliens in the United States in the past five years, including 3 million that were shipped to the Los Angeles area alone. The documents were available on the street for $80 to $300, authorities said.

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Marcy Forman, director of investigations for ICE, called the Castorena family “one of the largest and most sophisticated document fraud rings ever uncovered,” adding that fraudulent documents “can be provided to terrorists and other criminals, posing a major homeland security vulnerability.”

According to court records, the Castorena family oversees from its base in Guadalajara, Mexico, a large-scale criminal organization with more than 100 members who direct cells of 10 to 20 people located in cities across the United States.

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