ICE official going to prison after being caught stealing immigrants’ identities

Credit: AP Photo/LM Otero, File

According to the Justice Department, the former chief attorney for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been sentenced to four years in prison for stealing identities of undocumented immigrants who faced deportation. He was using the identities to defraud banks and credit card companies.

After his release, he will also serve four years of court supervision and has surrendered his law license.

Earlier this year, Raphael A. Sanchez pled guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.

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Sanchez was a legal counsel for ICE and was responsible for immigration removal in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington for 17 years. However, in his plea agreement, Sanchez admitted that he  “intentionally devised a scheme to defraud aliens in various stages of immigration removal proceedings with ICE.

In a statement by Acting Attorney General John Cronan, he stated, “Raphael Sanchez was entrusted with overseeing the honest enforcement of our country’s immigration laws. Instead, Sanchez abused that trust, and capitalized on his position at ICE to exploit his victims and line his own pockets.”

Sanchez is said to have stolen more than $190,000. He has also claimed three immigrants as relative dependents on his 2014, 2015 and 2016 tax returns.

The sentencing comes as the Trump administration has been cracking down hard on immigration while some Democrats call for ICE to be completely abolished.


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