|
|
|
The Carthage Press
  • Carthage residents sentenced in federal court

  • Two Carthage men were sentenced, and a St. Joseph woman and a Carthage man pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday to their roles in a $5 million conspiracy to use a Missouri Department of Revenue license office in St. Joseph to provide more than 3,500 fraudulent identity documents to people in the country illegally across the United States.
    • email print
  • KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Two Carthage men were sentenced, and a St. Joseph woman and a Carthage man pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday to their roles in a $5 million conspiracy to use a Missouri Department of Revenue license office in St. Joseph to provide more than 3,500 fraudulent identity documents to people in the country illegally across the United States.
    Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, said Nelson Dariseo Bautista-Orozco, a citizen of Guatemala who is unlawfully in the United States and lived in Carthage, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner today to three years and six months in federal prison without parole.
    Ranfe Adaias Hernandez-Flores, also known as “Miguel,” 23, also a citizen of Guatemala who is unlawfully in the United States and lived in Carthage, was sentenced on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 to two years in federal prison without parole.
    They are each jointly liable for a $5,250,000 money judgment, the proceeds from the conspiracy.
    Sherri E. Gutierrez, 46, of St. Joseph, Mo., pleaded guilty on Wednesday to being a leader or manager of the conspiracy to transport illegal aliens, to unlawfully produce identification documents, to unlawfully transfer another person’s identification and to commit Social Security fraud from November 2009 to January 2012.
    Elder Enrique Ordonez-Chanas, also known as “Flaco,” 31, also a citizen of Guatemala who is unlawfully in the United States and lived in Carthage, pleaded guilty on Monday to participating in the conspiracy. The government contends that Ordonez-Chanas is also a leader or manager of the conspiracy. In addition to the conspiracy, Gutierrez and Ordonez-Chanas each pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft.
    Dickenson estimated that more than 3,500 licenses were issued to illegal aliens by the Department of Revenue license office in St. Joseph. 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.
    Bautista-Orozco pleaded guilty on Sept. 12, 2012 to his role in the conspiracy and to aggravated identity theft. He admitted that he received packages in the mail from co-conspirators who sent him identity documents, such as birth certificates and Social Security cards. Those identity documents were used by illegal aliens to obtain Missouri driver’s or non-driver’s licenses. Bautista-Orozco also received payments from the illegal aliens who purchased the identity documents from his co-conspirators.
    Hernandez-Flores pleaded guilty on Oct. 15, 2012 to his role in the conspiracy. Hernandez-Flores admitted that he transported illegal aliens to the St. Joseph license office.
    By pleading guilty, Gutierrez admitted that she transported illegal aliens to the St. Joseph license office, under the guise of being a translator, in order to assist them with obtaining a Missouri driver’s or non-driver’s license. She also instructed and assisted the illegal aliens to practice memorizing the information on the birth certificates and Social Security cards and to practice signing the name on those documents so that the signatures would be similar. ]
    Page 2 of 3 - They also assisted the illegal aliens to prepare for potential questions from the license office employees. They also assisted the illegal aliens who did not live in Missouri by providing them with a Missouri residential address to use.
    Gutierrez and Ordonez-Chanas each admitted that they assisted illegal aliens in obtaining birth certificates and Social Security cards in the names of others. These identity documents were used to obtain either a Missouri driver’s or non-driver’s license at the St. Joseph license office. Ordonez-Chanas requested document sets (of a specific age range for either a male or a female that corresponded with the illegal alien who was the customer) from co-defendants Julio Cesar Llanas-Rodriguez, 38, and Martin Alejandro Llanas-Rodriguez, 30, both of whom are citizens of Mexico unlawfully present in the United States and resided in San Antonio, Texas. Ordonez-Chanas then mailed the documents sets to Gutierrez and others.
    Julio Cesar Llanas-Rodriguez and Martin Alejandro Llanas-Rodriguez have also pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy and to aggravated identity theft. Their role in the conspiracy was to obtain state-issued birth certificates, usually from the state of Texas, which they purchased from willing individuals. They would also obtain a Social Security card in the name of the individual on the birth certificate, so they would have a matching document set. They mailed the documents to Gutierrez and others.
    Gutierrez and others collected money from the illegal aliens for the fraudulent identity documents. The money would usually then be paid to Ordonez-Chanas or Bautista-Orozco, who would then pay others. The illegal aliens were usually charged between $1,500 and $1,600 for the document sets and the Missouri driver’s and non-driver’s licenses. It is estimated that more than $5,250,000 in gross proceeds was paid by illegal aliens to members of this conspiracy.
    Under federal statutes, Gutierrez and Ordonez-Chanas are each subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole for conspiracy, plus a mandatory consecutive sentence of two years in federal prison without parole for aggravated identity theft, plus a fine up to $500,000. They must forfeit to the government $5,250,000, which represents proceeds from the conspiracy. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.
    They are among 13 co-defendants who have pleaded guilty in this case.
    Luis Adalberto Felipe-Lopez, 30, a citizen of Guatemala who was unlawfully in the United States and resided in Mt. Olive, N.C., pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy as well as to aggravated identity theft. The government contends that Felipe-Lopez is a leader or manager of the conspiracy. Felipe-Lopez admitted that he transported illegal aliens between St. Joseph and North Carolina. Felipe-Lopez admitted that he assisted illegal aliens in obtaining birth certificates and Social Security cards in the names of others. These identity documents were used to obtain either a Missouri driver’s or non-driver’s license at the St. Joseph license office.
    Page 3 of 3 - Deborah J. Flores, 47, and her children, Jessica M. Gonzalez, 22, Sara M. Gonzalez, 21, Christina Michelle Gonzalez, 24, and Stephen E. Vanvacter, 25, all of St. Joseph, as well as Jon L. Grippando, 25, of Atkins, Ark., formerly of St. Joseph, have also pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy. Flores also pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft. They admitted that they accompanied illegal aliens to the St. Joseph license office, under the guise of being translators, in order to assist them with obtaining a Missouri driver’s or non-driver’s license.
    Flores and her children also admitted that they instructed and assisted the illegal aliens to practice memorizing the information on the birth certificates and Social Security cards and to practice signing the name on those documents so that the signatures would be similar. They also assisted the illegal aliens to prepare for potential questions from the license office employees. They also assisted the illegal aliens who did not live in Missouri by providing them with a Missouri residential address to use in order to obtain the Missouri driver’s or non-driver’s license.
    Christina Gonzalez was sentenced to 32 months in federal prison without parole and ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution. Jessica Gonzalez was sentenced to three years of probation.

        calendar