Indictment Claims Missouri Office Involved in $5 Million Conspiracy
KANSAS CITY - The U. S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri said Wednesday that nine people who reside in Missouri have been indicted by a federal grand jury for their involvement in a $5 million conspiracy. Fourteen people were indicted in total.
The alleged conspiracy involved the Missouri Department of Revenue license office in St. Joseph. The indictment said the office provided more than 3,500 fraudulent identify documents to illegal aliens across the United States.
The indictment said St. Joseph became the focal point for thousands of illegal aliens across the country looking for documents.
Those indicted who reside in Missouri are Deborah J. Flores, 46, her children, Flores' sister, Sherri E. Gutierrez, 45, Stephen Eugene Vanvacter, 24, Sara M. Gonzalez, 20, Christina Michelle Gonzalez, 23, and Jessica Mercedes Gonzalez, 21, all of St. Joseph; Elder Enrique Ordonez-Chanas, 30, Nelson Dariseo Bautista-Orozco, 26, and Ranfe Adaias Hernandez-Flores, 22. all are citizens of Guatemala residing in Carthage.
People from Texas, North Carolina, Illinois were also charged.
The indictment accuses the defendants of being part of the conspiracy since late November 2009 and having illegally transported aliens, forged documents, and unlawfully transferring someone's identification.
Getting a Missouri driver's or non-driver's license requires proof of U.S. citizenship, as well as proof of a Social Security number and a Missouri residential address. The accused allegedly provided illegal aliens with birth certificates and Social Security cards in the names of others and provided them with Missouri residential addresses.
The state licenses could be used by the illegal aliens to remain in the United States, to obtain employment and for other unlawful purposes.
The indictment claims illegal aliens each paid $1,500 to $1,600 to get a documents and licenses. The indictment alleges the accused made more than 5.25 million dollars. It said llegal aliens were recruited as customers looking for these documents.
The defendants from St. Joseph allegedly went with illegal aliens as translators. The defendants also instructed the illegal aliens to memorize and practice the information so it would feel natural and not raise concern. They also helped the illegal aliens prepare by giving them potential questions they might run into, according to the indictment.
In addition to the conspiracy, those involved will be charged with counts of transporting illegal aliens, unlawfully producing identification documents, unlawfully transferring another person's identification, counts of Social Security fraud, counts of aggravated identity theft.
Some of the defendants in the indictment have previously been deported.
The following Missouri law enforcement offices were involved in the investigation:
- Buchanan County Sheriff's Department
- St. Joseph Police Department
- Platte County Sheriff's Department
- Missouri State Highway Patrol
- Missouri Department of Revenue Investigation Bureau