Two Guatemalan citizens who live in Carthage have asked to change their pleas to federal charges in an alleged scheme to obtain Missouri drivers licenses for thousands of people coming into this country illegally.
A third Guatemalan citizen living in Carthage still faces trial in this case while a brother and sister from St. Joseph, charged in the same scheme, pleaded guilty on Friday and Tuesday.
The charges all stem from an indictment handed down in January in the federal district court of Western Missouri, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Kansas City.
The attorney representing Ranfe Adaias Hernandez-Flores, 22, Carthage, filed papers seeking to change his plea in a hearing on Oct. 15 before District Judge Gary Fenner in a federal court in Kansas City.
Nelson Dariseo Bautista-Orozco, 26, Carthage, plans to change his plea in a hearing on Sept. 12 before Judge Fenner.
Federal court records say Elder Enrique Ordonez-Chanas, also known as “Flaco,” 30, still faces trial in November on the case.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in Kansas City said Stephen E. Vanvacter, 25, and his sister, Jessica Gonzalez, 22, both of St. Joseph, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to transport illegal aliens, to unlawfully transfer the means of identification of another person and to commit social security fraud, in federal district court on Friday and Tuesday.
A total of 14 people were charged in a scheme to provide more than 3,500 Missouri drivers licenses from the St. Joseph drivers license office to illegal immigrants across the country.
Federal prosecutors say illegal aliens each paid $1,500 to $1,600 to obtain documents and a license totaling more than $5,250,000 in gross proceeds paid by illegal aliens to members of the conspiracy from November 2009 to late 2011.
The federal indictment alleges that all of the defendants have participated in a conspiracy since November 2009 to transport illegal aliens, to unlawfully produce identification documents, to unlawfully transfer another person’s identification and to commit Social Security fraud.
“In order to obtain a Missouri driver’s or non-driver’s license, applicants are required to provide proof of U.S. citizenship, which may be shown by a certified birth certificate,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said in a written release. “Applicants must also provide proof of their Social Security number and proof of a Missouri residential address. Conspirators allegedly provided illegal aliens with birth certificates and Social Security cards in the names of others and provided them with Missouri residential addresses.
“The indictment alleges that illegal aliens would travel to St. Joseph from across the United States to obtain either a Missouri driver’s license or non-driver’s license by using the unlawfully obtained birth certificate and Social Security cards. The state licenses could then be used by the illegal aliens to remain unlawfully in the United States, to unlawfully obtain employment and for other unlawful purposes.”
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