Top US Visa official who helped with Trump crackdown charged with immigrant identity theft

Top attorney for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Seattle, Raphael A. Sanchez, was accused in February 2018 of stealing the identity of seven immigrants in an attempt to defraud several credit card companies. According to the charging document, Sanchez stole personal information to defraud financial institutions, including American Express.

Sanwar Ali workpermit.com comment:

Too often both in the US and the UK Government officials cover up for colleagues. It is good that ICE is showing that it is tough on corruption. In the UK lies and perjury are commonplace in Court proceedings, including in immigration related cases. However, nothing seems to be done about this.

Recently in the Russia investigation in the US by special counsel Robert Mueller, Dutch lawyer Alex van der Zwaan’s who lied to federal agents investigating former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, was sentenced to 30 days in prison.  In the UK in visa related cases similar or worse behaviour goes unpunished.

ICE’s chief counsel in the city of Seattle was charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, with the charging document filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington. It’s understood that Sanchez has since resigned his post following the charges.

Currently, Sanchez’s attorney has failed to comment on the charges brought against the former ICE official. Meanwhile, ICE’s base in Seattle has directed questions to the Department of Justice.

Personal data of seven immigrants used

The details of the charging document indicate that between October 2013 and October 2017, Sanchez used the personal data of seven immigrants to defraud financial institutions, including American Express, Bank of America and Citibank.

Signed by attorneys from the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section, the charging document stated that the immigrants were all in ‘various stages of US immigration proceedings.’

However, the document discloses very few details about Sanchez’s alleged offences, but prosecutors have accused him of stealing the name, Social Security number and birth date of a Chinese national identified only by the initials R.H.

According to legal documents, on April 18, 2016, Sanchez allegedly sent himself an email using his official government account, which contained an image of a US permanent residency card and the biographical page of a Chinese passport issued to R.H.

Additionally, it’s suspected that the email had a Puget Sound Energy bill attached in R.H.’s name, relating to services provided at an address in a southern Seattle neighborhood with a large Asian community. According to property records, Sanchez is listed as the owner of the address specified on the bill.

Sanchez was scheduled to appear in court for a plea hearing on Thursday, February 15. The filing of charge documents usually indicates that a defendant has waived prosecution by a grand jury and has instead opted to strike a plea bargain with prosecutors.

ICE plays part in Trump immigration crackdown

As chief counsel for ICE in Seattle, Sanchez negotiated a $2.25 million civil settlement in 2015 with an orchard owner in Washington who stood accused of recruiting more than 900 employees unauthorized to work in the United States.

Meanwhile, ICE agents in Washington continue to play a significant role in President Trump’s US immigration crackdown. As part of ‘Operation Safe City’, commissioned in September 2017, dozens of undocumented immigrants were detained over four days.

The Trump administration targeted so-called ‘sanctuary cities’ all over the US as part of the operation, including Seattle, where local officials refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.

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