LOUISVILLE, Ky. - An illegal alien from Mexico pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy charges for his role in a local fraudulent document ring. This guilty plea resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Louisville Metro Police Department.
Juan Manuel Calderon-Santana, 34, pleaded guilty June 22 to charges he conspired to possess document-making implements and false identification documents with the intent to illegally transfer them. The documents included: Permanent Resident Alien Cards (green cards), Social Security cards, Mexican driver's licenses and Mexican birth certificates.
Calderon-Santana admitted to being a member of an organized conspiracy that produced and sold false identification documents. The conspiracy solicited customers going in and out of businesses in the Louisville area, including Mexican grocery stores and restaurants, by handing out business cards bearing a name and a telephone number. After being contacted by a customer, a member of the conspiracy produced and delivered the requested documents.
ICE and Louisville police executed a search warrant Dec. 10, 2008, at Calderon-Santana's residence and recovered a commercial grade printer, supplies for the mass production of false documents, and business records detailing the conspiracy's sales of false documents. Based on records and ledgers recovered, ICE agents estimate that the organization collected approximately $1,500 a day for the false documents sold.
Calderon-Santana further admitted that he arrived at the residence from North Carolina the day before the search warrant and it was his intent to work for the organization by selling false documents in the metro Louisville area. He and three co-conspirators were indicted in federal court January 22. Calderon-Santana is scheduled to for sentencing Sept. 21, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Jennifer B. Coffman, Western District of Kentucky.
"ICE places a high priority on investigating identity fraud and document fraud cases," said Jerry Phillips, resident agent-in-charge of the ICE office in Louisville. "Counterfeit documents create the illusion of legitimacy and allow dangerous criminals to hide in plain sight. ICE is committed to shutting down illegal enterprises that compromise the security of our nation."
The maximum potential penalty is 70 years in prison and a $1.2 million fine. As is standard procedure, after the criminal justice process is completed - including serving any imposed prison sentence - Calderon-Santana will be transferred to ICE for deportation to Mexico.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mac Shannon, Western District of Kentucky, is prosecuting the case.