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Document and Benefit Fraud

Los Angeles-area man sentenced for operating websites that sold nearly $2 million worth of false identity documents

SAN FRANCISCO – A Los Angeles-area man who admitted operating two websites that sold counterfeit IDs was sentenced in federal court Tuesday to 33 months in prison for transferring false identification documents.

In addition to the prison term, the court also ordered Ramin Bibian, 47, of Tarzana, to forfeit $1.9 million to the federal government, covering the proceeds from the sale of the false identification documents.

Bibian, who has been in custody since his arrest in August 2012, was charged following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the HSI-led multi-agency Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force.

Bibian was originally indicted by a federal grand jury in August 2012 on three counts of transferring false identification documents. He subsequently pleaded guilty to one criminal count, admitting that, from approximately November 2005 to approximately August 2012, he operated two websites that sold false identification documents. Bibian also admitted using false names, including Ray Fray, Arya Jahan and Tova Godsi, in connection with the offense.

"Trafficking in counterfeit documents presents serious security vulnerabilities and contributes to a host of other types of crimes, including identity theft and financial fraud," said Clark Settles, special agent in charge for HSI San Francisco. "Our goal in these investigations is to identify and ultimately dismantle the criminal organizations behind these highly lucrative schemes."

Through www.newidcards.com, Bibian offered state driver’s licenses and identification cards for prices ranging from $135 to more than $250. For an additional fee, customers could add special features to their identification cards, such as holograms, magnetic encoded strips and high definition printing similar to that used by state agencies. Although he advertised his products as novelty items, Bibian admitted he knew the identification cards were similar to legitimately-issued state identification and that his customers intended to use them as substitutes for such.

In addition, Bibian sold invalid international driver’s licenses on another website he operated – www.idriverlicense.com. An international driver’s permit provides an official translated copy of an individual’s home country driver’s license for use abroad. The U.S. government has authorized only two entities, the American Automobile Association and the National Automobile Club, to issue such permits.