LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Two San Fernando Valley men were sentenced to federal prison terms on Monday, July 12, for participating in a document-trafficking ring that created and sold counterfeit United States passport cards, Social Security cards, driver’s licenses and other documents.
Carlos A. Hernandez, 44, of Granada Hills, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison and Miguel J. Guerrero, 23, of Van Nuys, was sentenced to a year and eight months, according to the US Attorney’s Office.
Hernandez pleaded guilty in February to one federal count each of conspiracy and being a felon in possession of firearms. Guerrero pleaded to one count each of conspiracy and producing false identification documents.
A third defendant, Nestor Perez, 32, of Van Nuys, also pleaded guilty to two federal charges, and is scheduled to be sentenced on July 19 in Los Angeles federal court.
The three men admitted their roles in the five-year scheme in which they worked to produce false identification documents that appeared to have been issued by the United States government, and driver’s licenses purporting to be from multiple states, including California, Wyoming and Pennsylvania.
Hernandez took orders, some by text message, from customers seeking specific false identification documents. His co-defendants then manufactured and stored the fake IDs at a Van Nuys apartment used solely to produce counterfeit documents.
After the fake IDs were ready, Hernandez notified customers and arranged for pickup times and places, usually in the parking lots of restaurants or pharmacies, in exchange for cash.
On Jan. 7, at the Van Nuys residence, the defendants were found in possession of 21 US passport cards, 68 Social Security cards, five Lawful Permanent Resident cards — commonly known as green cards — two Employment Authorization Document cards, 135 driver’s licenses, 11 foreign identification documents for Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Peru, and about 1,000 fraudulent authentication seals, court papers show.
Hernandez was also found in possession of $40,000 in cash at his home, prosecutors said.