BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Five men were indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday on multiple felony charges in connection with an alleged scheme to produce and distribute counterfeit Social Security and Permanent Resident Alien cards to aliens unlawfully present in the United States across three Alabama counties. The federal charges stem from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
"False identify documents threaten the security of all citizens by making it easier for criminals to commit a range of offenses and to fraudulently obtain benefits they aren't legally allowed to obtain," said Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., special agent in charge of HSI New Orleans.
Parmer oversees a five-state area of operations to include Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Pedro Montanez-Mendes, 39, is charged with providing counterfeit Social Security and Permanent Resident cards to three people in Calhoun County between Feb. 18 and March 26. Montanez-Mendez also is charged with illegally re-entering the United States after being previously removed from the country.
Amancio Gonzalez-Perez, 44, of Tuscaloosa, is charged with transferring counterfeit Social Security and Permanent Resident cards to two individuals in Tuscaloosa on Feb. 5. He is charged with producing and transferring Social Security and Resident cards to a third individual on Feb. 26 in Tuscaloosa, and another set to a fourth individual in March.
Gonzalez-Perez and a co-defendant, Roberto Zamudio-Sanchez, 25, of Tuscaloosa, each face one count of possessing document-making implements with the intent to produce counterfeit identification documents.
A third indictment charges Eutiquio Franco-Ibarra, 25, and Juan Benitez-Pacheco, 33, both of Albertville, with counterfeiting government identification documents in Marshal County.
Franco-Ibarra is charged with producing, and Benitez-Pacheco with transferring, counterfeit Social Security and Permanent Resident cards to an individual in Marshal County on Feb. 4.
Franco-Ibarra also is charged with transferring a false Social Security card to a second individual on Feb. 27, and Benitez-Pacheco is charged with providing both a Social Security and a Permanent Resident card to a third individual March 27. Both men are charged with possessing document-making implements.
Benitez-Pacheco also is charged with illegally re-entering the United States after previously having been deported.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Alabama. A complaint is a formal charge against a defendant under the law. That charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in court.