CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A 43-year-old Dobson, N.C., man was arrested yesterday for allegedly producing and selling fraudulent immigration, Social Security and North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicle documents.
The arrest followed an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, License and Theft Bureau, Surry County Sheriff's Office and Stokes County Sheriff's Office.
The defendant, Adin Avila-Herrarte, of El Salvador, is charged with the manufacture, sale and distribution of a counterfeit alien registration card, Social Security card and a Texas state identification card, in violation of Title 18, U. S. Code, Section 1028. He was arrested in his home in Dobson, which was allegedly used as a document lab.
"Document fraud and other forms of immigration benefit fraud undermine the integrity of our nation's legal immigration system and potentially rob deserving immigrants of benefits they rightfully deserve," said Del Richburg, assistant special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations in Charlotte. "This criminal activity allows for dangerous criminals to obscure their identities and cover their tracks. We will continue to aggressively target those participating in or facilitating these crimes."
"Identity theft and document fraud are serious offenses that threaten our national security and the stability of our financial and business institutions and wreak havoc on individual victims," said Anna Mills Wagoner, U. S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina, where the charges are pending. "Investigation and prosecution is an essential component of a strategy to battling these crimes. In addition, all of us must be vigilant in defending our personal and financial information."
Document fraud is the manufacture, sale or use of counterfeit identity documents, such as fake driver's licenses, birth certificates, Social Security cards, or passports, for immigration fraud or other criminal activity. Document fraud also includes efforts to obtain genuine identity documents through fraudulent means. These activities have helped illegal aliens, criminals and even terrorists evade detection and embed themselves in our society. Document fraud often supports the crime of benefit fraud.
To help eradicate this problem, ICE has 19 Document and Benefit Fraud Task Forces (DBFTFs). These DBTFs were established in April 2006 and focus on detecting, deterring and disrupting benefit and document fraud. Investigators from a variety of agencies with expertise in different aspects of document and benefit fraud collaborate with U.S. attorney's offices around the country to formulate a comprehensive approach in targeting the criminal organizations and the beneficiaries behind their fraudulent schemes.
ICE partners with the Department of Labor, the Social Security Administration, U.S. Postal Service, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the U.S. Department of State and various state and local law enforcement agencies on these task forces.