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Document and Benefit Fraud

Mexican national pleads guilty to selling counterfeit documents

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A Mexican national pleaded guilty in federal court on Wednesday to making and selling fraudulent identity documents, including counterfeit Social Security cards and driver's licenses. The guilty plea resulted following an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Isidro Castro-Lopez, 26, a Mexican national, pleaded guilty Jan. 27 in the District of Kansas to making and selling counterfeit identity documents. During his plea, Castro-Lopez admitted he possessed forged identity documents at the time he was arrested by ICE agents on Dec. 2, 2009. Castro-Lopez was targeted during an ICE investigation into black market sales of fraudulent identity documents in the Kansas City area.

ICE agents determined that Castro-Lopez used a home computer and Corel software to make the following counterfeit documents: U.S. Permanent Resident Alien Cards (green cards), Mexican driver's licenses and Social Security cards. He sold pairs of counterfeit Social Security cards and green cards for $70, and counterfeit Mexican driver's licenses for $50 each.

"ICE places a high priority on investigating identity fraud and document fraud cases," said Gilbert Trill, assistant special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Kansas City, Mo. "Counterfeit documents create the illusion of legitimacy and allow dangerous criminals to hide in plain sight. ICE is committed to shutting down illegal enterprises that compromise the security of our nation."

Sentencing for Castro-Lopez is scheduled for April 26; he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.

ICE was assisted in the investigation by the Kansas Department of Revenue. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Oakley, District of Kansas, is prosecuting the case.

To report suspicious activity, call ICE's 24-hour toll-free hotline at: 1-866-347-2423 or visit www.ice.gov.