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Document and Benefit Fraud

Mexican national arrested for selling fraudulent documents

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A Mexican national has been arrested by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for allegedly possessing, transferring, producing and selling fraudulent immigration and identification documents. A federal arrest and search warrant was executed at his residence in Lowville, N.Y., this morning.

Moises Velazquez-Jacobo, 36, an illegal alien from Mexico, who had been previously removed from the United States in 2007 and 2008, sold fraudulent identification documents, which included U.S. legal permanent resident cards and U.S. social security cards. The investigation, which began in late 2011, led to the purchase of false documents by a cooperating source of HSI. Velazquez-Jacobo faces up to five years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and deportation to Mexico.

"This case highlights our commitment to protecting both the integrity of our immigration system and our national security," said Nick DiNicola, assistant special agent in charge of HSI Albany. "Immigration benefit fraud schemes undermine the integrity of our nation's legal immigration system, pose a security vulnerability and potentially rob deserving immigrants of benefits they rightfully deserve. HSI will not allow the exploitation of our proud legal immigration tradition for profit and will move aggressively against those who engage in such criminal conduct."

An additional seven undocumented illegal aliens were discovered at the residence. They are currently being administratively processed by HSI to determine if they will be arrested criminally.

HSI places a high priority on investigating document and benefit fraud. These types of fraud pose a severe threat to national security and public safety because they create a vulnerability that may enable terrorists, criminals and illegal aliens to gain entry to and remain in the United States. Document and benefit fraud are elements of many immigration-related crimes, such as human smuggling and human trafficking, critical infrastructure protection, worksite enforcement, visa compliance enforcement and national security investigations. Document fraud, also known as identity fraud, is the manufacturing, counterfeiting, alteration, sale, and/or use of identity documents and other fraudulent documents to circumvent immigration laws or for other criminal activity. Identity fraud in some cases also involves identity theft, a crime in which an imposter takes on the identity of a real person (living or deceased) for some illegal purpose.

The public can report cases of document fraud by calling 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or visiting www.ICE.gov/tips.

This case is being investigated by HSI Syracuse. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carl Eurenius, Northern District of New York.