WASHINGTON – The top lawyer for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) field office in Seattle, Washington has been charged with trying to steal the identities of seven people who were in immigration proceedings.
The ICE chief counsel, Raphael A. Sanchez, was charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, according to court documents filed on Monday in United States District Court for the Western District of Washington.
He allegedly used the personal information “to obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses” when their cases were under review by ICE, the charging document said.
His fraud attempts allegedly involved American Express, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Capital One, Citibank and Discover Financial Services. It’s reported that they began in October 2013 and continued through October 25, 2017.
The documents said the seven people were at various stages of immigration proceedings when Sanchez had access to their identification information.
In one instance in 2016, Sanchez allegedly used his work email account to send information to his personal Yahoo account about a person who had migrated from China, identified as R.H.
The email included a utility bill, images of the biographical page of R.H.’s Chinese passport and R.H.’s United States permanent resident card.
Sanchez also allegedly used, without “lawful authority,” other identification to commit the wire fraud, such as R.H.’s social security number and birth date, the document said.
According to his laywer, Cassandra Stamm, Sanchez is scheduled to make his first appearance in court on Thursday.
She confirmed Sanchez had resigned from his job effective on Monday.
It was unclear whether any of the seven people whose identities were tampered with suffered financial or legal difficulties as a result of the alleged actions.
ICE said in a statement that its internal affairs office conducted the investigation. – CMC