3 Charged In Selling Fraudulent ID’s To Foreign Nationals

Three Chicago men face felony charges following a Cook County Sheriff’s Police investigation of a scheme to sell fraudulent IDs to foreign nationals which they could then use to gain employment, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced today.

On January 24, Sheriff’s Police arrested Facundo Donato Meneses-Garcia, age 51, Francisco Javier Otero-Rosas, age 42, and Keneth Jareth Ulloa-Rodriguez, 19, after executing a search warrant at their residence in the 2700 block of South Hamlin Avenue in Chicago.

Officers recovered 481 fake identification cards from the residence – including
social security cards, green cards, and driver’s licenses – along with more than $7,200 in cash and approximately 40 grams of suspected methamphetamine.

Over the last several months, Sheriff’s Police have investigated multiple cases of retail theft in Chicago’s downtown area involving migrants, most of whom were originally from
Venezuela and bused to the city from Texas.

The investigations revealed that individuals
were taking advantage of the migrants’ desperation to gain employment and recruiting them to steal specific items to be traded for fraudulent IDs or to be sold for cash that was then used to purchase fraudulent IDs.

In this case, officers were tipped off to the defendants’ operation following information
obtained after a retail theft arrest earlier this month. Based on that information, Sheriff’s
Police set up an undercover operation in which they purchased fraudulent IDs from the defendants on multiple occasions, leading to the issuance of a search warrant for the residence.

“This is what happens when you have desperate individuals who have little ability to help themselves legally,” Sheriff Dart said. “People are going to take advantage of them.”

On Jan. 25, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office approved felony charges of one count for each defendant of Duplicating/Manufacturing Selling Fraudulent ID Cards, a Class 3 felony, and Manufacturing Duplicating Fraudulent ID/Permit, a Class 4 felony.

On Jan. 26, all three defendants appeared at the George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building where a judge ordered them to be placed on the Chief Judge’s pre-trial electronic monitoring program. The investigation is ongoing, and additional charges may be sought pending the results of laboratory analysis on the suspect narcotics recovered.

“The work permitting process has to be addressed,” Sheriff Dart said. “These migrants are just trying to get a job. We can debate about immigration policy, but for those that are here already, we can’t just ignore them.”

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