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Document and Benefit Fraud

Indiana man sentenced to nearly 3 years for mail fraud, harboring illegal aliens

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – A man from Elkhart, Ind. was sentenced Thursday to nearly three years in prison on charges of mail fraud and harboring more than 100 illegal aliens. The sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Paulino Ascencion-Apolino, 23, of Elkhart and formerly of Indianapolis, was sentenced Feb. 9 for conspiring to harbor illegal aliens and mail fraud in the case U.S. v Ramon Garcia et al. A federal judge sitting in South Bend imposed a sentence of 33 months and ordered forfeiture of more than $60,000 seized from several bank accounts. The sentence was enhanced because Ascencion-Apolino helped harbor more than 100 aliens.

Ascencion-Apolino owned and operated a business named Servicos Mi Tierra, which had offices in South Bend, Elkhart and Highland, Ind. Servicios Mi Tierra created false documents that were presented to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles between fall 2010 and May 2011 to fraudulently obtain registration documents for people who could not legally register their motor vehicles in Indiana. Many of these documents were subsequently placed in the U.S. mail.

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