FORT MORGAN, Colo. - Eleven people were arrested on outstanding warrants on Wednesday after they were indicted on state criminal charges of criminal impersonation and possessing fraudulent documents. The investigation is being conducted by the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Fort Morgan Police Department, Brush Police Department, Morgan County Sheriff's Office, and the Colorado 13th Judicial District Attorney's Office.
The indictment charges 20 people with possessing or using false documents to unlawfully gain employment in the United States, including fraudulent alien registration (I-551, aka "green card") and social security cards. The indictment for each of the individuals was unsealed upon their arrest. The indictment for the remaining nine people remains sealed until they are arrested.
"It's important that we increase security and oversight of government identity documents as technology makes it easier to create high-quality fraudulent documents," said David Marwell, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Denver. "ICE HSI leads Document and Benefit Fraud task forces in Colorado and nationwide composed of local, state and federal agencies to identify, investigate and help prosecute document and benefit thieves." Marwell oversees a four-state area, including Colorado.
All of those indicted had worked for a Morgan County employer. An ongoing investigation determined that 89 percent of the employees of this company were not authorized to work in the United States. The 20 most egregious violators were indicted, which includes citizens from the following countries: Mexico (17), El Salvador (1), Guatemala (1) and Honduras (1).
All those arrested are currently being housed in Morgan County Jail pending bond or trial. Document and benefit fraud pose a severe threat to national security and public safety because they create a vulnerability that may enable terrorists, criminals and illegal aliens to gain entry to and remain in the United States. One of the ways ICE HSI addresses the infrastructure of illegal immigration is by detecting and deterring fraud before it erodes the integrity of the immigration process.
Established in April 2006, the 18 Document and Benefit Fraud Task Forces (DBFTFs), led by ICE, detect, deter and disrupt document and benefit fraud.