GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Homeland Security Investigation led to the arrest of three people who allegedly created fake driver’s licenses and social security cards for undocumented immigrants in West Michigan.
According to federal court documents, two men using the aliases “Rodrigo” and “Galvan” distributed the phony IDs. A third man, identified in court records as Jaime Velasco-Jimenez, is accused of making the counterfeit documents. Velasco-Jimenez allegedly told agents with Homeland Security Investigations that he had been making fake IDs and social security cards for around three years.
“What we’ve seen here in the Western District of Michigan is the people that are here who are undocumented aliens, they want to work,” U.S. Attorney Pat Miles told 24 Hour News 8. “Generally they are going to need a driver’s license, a social security card or a permanent residence card to get a job.”
Court documents said the so-called Rodrigo and Galvan would stand outside a Hispanic store along Division Avenue in Grand Rapids passing out business cards with their names and phone numbers on them, saying they worked in auto repair. But people would call them to get fake driver’s licenses and social security cards.
The court documents say Velasco-Jimenez told Homeland Security Investigation agents that “Rodrigo” and “Galvan” would take calls from customers and obtain their information, and (Velasco-Jimenez) would create the fake documents. Velasco-Jimenez said he would keep half of the money taken in and Rodrigo and Galvan would keep the other half. Documents show people would pay between $90 and $225, depending on what type of identification they were getting.
All three men lived separately in Kalamazoo. Documents show when agents with Homeland Security Investigations raided Velasco-Jimenez’s apartment, they found digital cameras, printers and laminators.
Homeland Security Investigations agents used cellphone records to help build their case, documenting how often the men communicated with each other. They also used several informants to buy IDs from the men.
“We’ve seen with the continuing issue of immigration and undocumented aliens, as that populations grows, there’s also going to be a growth in document fraud,” Miles said.
He said a policy put in place by President Barack Obama could help lower the number of these cases. It’s called the deferred action for parental accountability, and it allows undocumented workers in the United States to get documents for employment if they have lived here for at least five years and have domestically-born children.