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Document and Benefit Fraud

Lead defendant in fraudulent identification document scheme pleads guilty

A Texas DPS trooper involved in the scheme pleaded guilty earlier

DALLAS - Just weeks before his trial was to begin in U.S. District Court, the lead defendant in a fraudulent-document scheme pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy on Tuesday. This plea was announced by U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Ruben Gomez-Luevano pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul D. Stickney to one count of conspiracy to transfer stolen and unlawfully issued identification documents. He faces a maximum statutory sentence of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Gomez-Luevano, a Mexican citizen who has been in federal custody since his arrest in January 2009, is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey on June 21.

Gomez-Luevano's two co-defendants, Reyes David Martinez, 36, of Dallas, and Alvaro Ivan Adame, 41, of Wichita Falls, Texas, have pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme and have been sentenced. Martinez pleaded guilty in April 2009 to one count of conspiracy to transfer unlawfully issued identification documents and was sentenced in July 2009 to time served. Adame pleaded guilty in December 2009 to one count of accessory after the fact to the crime of improper entry by an alien and was sentenced the same day to five years probation.

At the time of his offense, Adame was a lieutenant with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and worked as a supervisor in its Driver License Division at offices on Northwest Highway in Dallas and in Wichita Falls, Texas. As part of his plea agreement with the government, Adame resigned from the Texas DPS and has permanently relinquished his Texas Peace Officer's License, precluding him from ever obtaining that license again in Texas.

With full knowledge of Gomez-Luevano's illegal status in the U.S., Adame attempted to employ him as an "off the books" confidential informant to assist in the investigation into the use of fraudulent documents at Texas DPS offices, but DPS refused to approve him. Adame assisted Gomez-Luevano in avoiding apprehension and deportation. He also received money from Gomez-Luevano for helping the aliens clear fines they owed to DPS.

According to documents filed in the case, Gomez-Luevano admitted that from 2003 until his arrest in January 2009, he conspired to transfer driver's licenses and identification cards knowing they were produced without lawful authority. Martinez became involved in the conspiracy in 2008 when he began working for Gomez-Luevano. Martinez and Gomez-Luevano transported the aliens from Texas to New Mexico and helped them obtain fraudulent New Mexico residency documents.

The aliens then presented the documents to the New Mexico Department of Motor Vehicles and received New Mexico licenses. Martinez and Gomez-Luevano then transported the aliens back to the Dallas area, where they presented the New Mexico licenses or identification cards to the Texas DPS, including the office managed by Lieutenant Adame. They then received a Texas driver's license or identification card in the mail. The aliens paid Gomez-Luevano between $1500 and $2500 to receive their Texas licenses. Sometimes, Gomez-Luevano even allowed the aliens to use his vehicle to take the driving test.

The case was investigated by ICE's Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force with the cooperation of the Texas DPS.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cara Foos Pierce and Errin Martin, Northern District of Texas, are prosecuting the case.