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Document and Benefit Fraud
09/03/2009

2 charged in fraudulent documents scheme

Defendants recruited, housed and secured employment for illegal aliens

SEATTLE - Two men were arrested today for recruiting illegal aliens to come to the Seattle area for work and providing them with false documents, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Rogelio Lopez-Tiznado, 39, of Bothell, Wash., and Gabriel Perez-Zambrano, 37, of Edmonds, Wash., were employed as crew foremen at Ketchikan Drywall Services, Inc., in Woodinville, Wash. Ketchikan Drywall Services, Inc. is one of the largest drywall companies in Washington.

According to court documents, Lopez-Tiznado and Perez-Zambrano recruited workers from Mexico and provided them with false documents including Social Security numbers to obtain employment at Ketchikan Drywall and another company, DJ Drywall. In addition to providing jobs, they housed the illegal workers in homes they owned in Snohomish County, Wash., charging them each between $250 and $380 a month in rent.

ICE's investigation also revealed that Perez-Zambrano used false Social Security numbers to repeatedly refinance his home mortgage, providing little documentation other than stating his employment as a drywall crew foreman. Lopez-Tiznado had mortgages on two different homes, both of which have now been foreclosed upon by the banks. The mortgages totaled more than $1 million.

"Those who seek to profit from the use of counterfeit documents should be on notice that ICE takes this type of crime very seriously," said Brad Bench, acting special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations in Seattle. "We will use our unique financial and immigration investigative authorities to aggressively pursue those who are engaged in these types of illegal schemes."

The charges filed against both men carry penalties of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Both men remain in custody pending a detention hearing next week.