March 18, 2018

ICE lawyer in Seattle charged with stealing immigrants' IDs

15 February 2018, 06:20 | Taylor George

Immigrant Rights Community Responds to Allegations Against Seattle ICE Attorney

A Top ICE Attorney Has Been Charged With Stealing Immigrants' Identities

The chief counsel for the Seattle office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement was charged Monday with stealing the identities of seven people who'd come through his office, the Associated Press and Washington Post have reported.

The accused fraudster resigned Monday, a Justice Department official said, the same day as the charges were filed in U.S. District Court.

BuzzFeed News, citing documents filed in the case, reports Sanchez used personal information to defraud several institutions, including American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Citibank, Discover, and JPMorgan Chase.

In one case, Sanchez sent an energy bill, Chinese passport and USA permanent resident card from his ICE email account to a personal Yahoo email account.

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Raphael Sanchez was charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for lifting the immigrants' personal information and attempting to commit fraud, which allegedly took place between October 2013 and October 2017, according to an information filed Monday.

CNN, which contacted the ICE Western region office for comment, was told to refer questions to the DOJ. The immigrants were all "in various stages of immigration proceedings", read the document signed by attorneys from Justice Department's Public Integrity Section. But in one example, prosecutors alleged Sanchez stole the name, Social Security number and birth date of a Chinese national identified only as R.H.

Over 15 million people each year have their identity stolen.

Sanchez is due back in court to enter a plea on Thursday. The filing of an information typically signals that a defendant has waived indictment by a grand jury and intends to work out a plea agreement with prosecutors. Critics say the move would give ICE access to an array of raw intelligence data that could lead to further abuses as ICE carries out President Trump's mass deportation efforts.

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