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Document and Benefit Fraud

5 convicted for conspiring to obtain car registrations for illegal aliens

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Five individuals were found guilty at trial Wednesday for harboring illegal aliens as part of a conspiracy that obtained motor vehicle registrations, license plates, and titles for illegal aliens.

These guilty verdicts resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS). The following agencies assisted in the investigation: Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Elkhart Police Department, Indiana State Police, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Indiana Secretary of State. Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the Southern District of Indiana also provided assistance.

Omar Duran Lagunes, 35, Luis Omar Montes Merino, 34, Yalitz Exclusa Borrero, 31, and Evelyn Riviera Borrero, 44, all of Indianapolis; and Margarito Fuentes Reyes, 51, of Goshen, Ind., were found guilty at trial Feb. 13 on all counts of an indictment charging them with immigration fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

The indictment, returned in June 2012, charged the defendants with presenting false information, forged documents, and making false representations to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Indiana Secretary of State. The charges also included falsely representing the identity of the actual owners of motor vehicles to obtain motor vehicle registrations, license plates and titles. By committing these and other crimes, the defendants concealed, harbored and shielded illegal aliens from detection, and encouraged them to enter and remain in the United States in violation of immigration laws. The conspirators operated at locations in Indianapolis, Goshen and Elkhart, Ind.

"These individuals abused legitimate government services and circumvented this nation’s immigration laws – all in the name of profit," said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of HSI Chicago. "Identity fraud affects all of us and has far-reaching implications. These guilty verdicts demonstrate HSI’s resolve to work with our law enforcement partners to stop this type of criminal activity."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Hays, Northern District of Indiana, is prosecuting this case.