Last week, a Venezuelan man was sentenced by a U.S. District Court judge in the Southern District of Florida to 45 months in prison and one year supervised release after he plead guilty to charges of immigration fraud.
The U.S Attorney’s Office alleged that the man was the ringleader of an immigration scam that sold fake U.S. residence stamps to undocumented immigrants so they could obtain Florida driver’s licenses.
The scope of the immigration fraud was large. According to reports, 110 people over the course of 2 ½ years were targeted by the fraud, earning the defendant and his two accomplices more than $250,000.
To build its case, court records show that investigators from Homeland Security Investigations, a unit of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, interviewed at least 46 of the 110 undocumented immigrants who bought the fake residence stamps. Phone conversations between the defendant and an undercover officer who was posing as an undocumented immigrant were also recorded and used as evidence for the indictment.
Only U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents and other foreign nationals are entitled to Florida driver’s licenses. To secure a driver’s license in Florida, residents must show proof of legal residence. A permanent residence stamp on a foreign national’s passport constitutes that proof of residence, unless of course, it’s fake.
Have you been contacted by FBI or ICE agents wanting to interview you? Or have you been charged with immigration fraud or another type of fraud? It is imperative that you contact a seasoned Palm Beach white collar crime attorney BEFORE speaking to government representatives.