Two Indicted On ID Forgery In ‘Well-Oiled’ Operation

2 indicted on ID forgery in 'well-oiled' operation

The Washington Times
April 13, 2007

NORFOLK (AP) — A bogus-document operation that catered to illegal aliens advertised its services in Spanish-language newspapers and snapped head shots for the fake documents near a Virginia Beach taco stand, according to a federal indictment.

“This was a well-oiled machine,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph E. DePadilla said Wednesday at a U.S. District Court hearing. “They had samples, and you could pick out what IDs you wanted to get.”

Mr. DePadilla said the government has evidence of 246 completed transactions for various phony identifications, such as Social Security cards. The operation also produced a permanent-residence card and other documents, according to the indictment.

Lawyers who represent illegal aliens say the documents are critical for gaining employment in the United States.

Maria R. Salas and Narciso M. Salas, who are siblings, have been charged in a 12-count federal indictment handed up by a federal grand jury last week. The Salases initially were charged in state court last month after police with a search warrant confiscated computers, a scanner, a camera and about $2,100 from a residence near the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

Miss Salas took ID photos for the fake cards near a taco stand, the indictment says.

Cards were completed at an off-site location and mailed to customers. Mr. DePadilla said that location has not been identified.

He said Miss Salas confessed to her role in the operation last month. Her attorney, Harry D. Harmon Jr., declined to comment on the plea agreement.

The state charges were to be withdrawn yesterday so the felony cases against the Salases can move forward in federal court, Mr. DePadilla said.

At Wednesday's hearing, a magistrate denied bond for Miss Salas. He scheduled another hearing for April 25.