Families. Can’t live with them. Can’t live without them. That is what Tomas Leal-Paez must be thinking. Afterall, his fake ID business could still be thriving if one of his family members hadn’t sold him out. Starting as early as 2016, Leal-Paez was a one stop shop providing fake ID’s to undocumented immigrants from Mexico. Drivers licneses, green cards, permanent resident cards. Even Social Security cards. What ever legal status the immigrant wanted- Leal-Paez could provide.
Then, in 2019, federal investigators arrested a relative of Leal-Paez for using the fake docuements provided by Leal-Paez to obtain employment. And the relative was more than willing to cop a deal. Over the course of four years, the FBI used the family member to text, call, and set up meetings to exchange identifying documents for money with Leal-Paez. Through the interactions, the agents were able to determine a phone number Lael-Paez used to order cards and have documents regularly manufactured. The number belonged to another man who was always on call for Leal-Paez. Twenty-four hours a day, ready for business.
Leal-Paez plead guilty and is scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 11 where he faces 15 years in prison, a $500,000 fine and deportation. Because Lea-Paez isn’t a citizen of the United States. How else do you think he started his fake ID business? He needed a green card.
Great job by the Department of Labor in this case.
Today’s Fraud of The Day is based on article “Man who sold fake IDs throughout Central Kentucky pleads guilty to federal charges” published by the Herald Leader on September 11, 2023
A man accused of selling fake Social Security cards in Central Kentucky while being monitored by federal agents has pleaded guilty to federal crimes. Tomas Leal-Paez pleaded guilty to possessing a counterfeit permanent resident card and possessing a counterfeit Social Security card in federal court Friday. Leal-Paez was formerly indicted on four counts of the same charges in June.
Leal-Paez sold fake IDs, fake drivers’ licenses and “green cards” to “undocumented immigrants, primarily from Mexico,” according to an affidavit filed into court records. The plea agreement references two transactions in Madison and Fayette counties where Leal-Paez sold permanent resident cards and Social Security cards to confidential informants in January and April 2023.