ICE lawyer charged for stealing identities of immigrants to commit bank fraud
The chief counsel for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) field office in Seattle has been charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft after trying to steal the identities of seven immigrants who were in the middle of immigration proceedings with his office.
According to the New York Times, court documents filed on Monday at the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, accused Raphael A. Sanchez of using the personal information of immigrants whose cases were under ICE review “to obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses.”
Specifically, the court documents point to an energy bill that was sent to Sanchez’s email address but contained the personal information of a Chinese national identified as R.H. The email had a picture of R.H’s personal information, including a permanent resident card and part of his passport.
Additionally, the court documents claimed that Sanchez had used R.H.’s social security number and birthday.
Lawyer Cassandra Stamm said in an email that Sanchez had resigned from his position, effective Monday. She also confirmed that Sanchez would be appearing in court on Thursday but did not give details beyond that.
The Associated Press reported that it’s liked Sanchez will be seeking a plea agreement, because the type of document filed is usually indicative of a defendant waving the right to be indicted by a grand jury.
The case will be overseen by the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section, which is specifically focused on rooting out corruption in public officials.
ICE released a statement saying that it had conducted an internal investigation through its internal affairs office. It is not yet clear what kind of financial or legal difficulties, if any, were suffered by the seven people whose identities were stolen by Sanchez.