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Document and Benefit Fraud
06/01/2014

Member of fraudulent document enterprise pleads guilty to racketeering, money laundering

RICHMOND, Va. — A Mexican national living in Cincinnati pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to engage in racketeering and conspiracy to launder money following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington into a violent fraudulent document enterprise.

Freddy David Santos Campuzano, 32, faces a maximum of 40 years' imprisonment, a fine of $750,000 and three years of supervised release when he is sentenced Sept. 10. Further, Campuzano is illegally in the United States and faces deportation following his prison sentence.

Campuzano is connected to a fraudulent document enterprise. The enterprise, which operated in the United States from at least 2008 through November 2010, had cells in Richmond, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Manassas, as well as in Fayetteville and Little Rock, Arkansas; New Haven, Connecticut; Mishawaka, Indiana; Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky; Chelsea, Massachusetts; St. Louis, Missouri; Chapel Hill, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Wilmington, North Carolina; Cincinnati, Ohio; Providence, Rhode Island; and, Nashville, Tennessee.

The enterprise restarted operations at some point prior to February 2012. Manuel Hidalgo Flores, also known as "Chino," "Chimuelo" and "Julio," began managing the organization's operations and supervising operations in Richmond; Springdale, Arkansas; Boston, Massachusetts; Raleigh, North Carolina; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Pawtucket, Rhode Island. As in the previous case, the enterprise produced high-quality false identification cards for distribution to illegal aliens. In most cities where the organization operated, Flores placed a cell manager to supervise a number of runners, lower level members of the organization who distributed business cards advertising the organization's services and helped facilitate transactions with customers.

Campuzano, also known as "Chaparro," admitted that, he operated in the Cincinnati cell under the supervision of Hidalgo Flores. Within that cell, Campuzano, along with others, distributed fraudulent documents using information obtained from clients by runners. The runners would recruit illegal alien clients who wished to obtain false identification documents, including counterfeit permanent resident alien cards (green cards), Social Security cards, out-of-state identification cards, and various international documents. Upon identifying a specific client, a runner would relay identifying information and photographs from the client to the printer via cell phone or other methods.

A client would generally pay $150 for a set of fraudulent identification documents such as a permanent resident alien card and Social Security card. Each cell maintained detailed sales records and divided the proceeds between the runner, the cell manager and the upper level managers in Mexico. In addition, the enterprise used Western Union and MoneyGram to funnel criminal proceeds to Mexico.

The organization sought to drive competitors from their territory by posing as customers in search of fraudulent documents and then attacked the competitors when they arrived to make a sale. The enterprise continued those tactics in 2013.