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News : St. Joseph Woman Sentenced In Five Million Dollar Conspiracy
Posted by Randy on 2013/6/27 8:01:55 (761 reads) News by the same author

Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a St. Joseph, Mo., woman was sentenced in federal court today for her role in a more than $5 million conspiracy that utilized the Missouri Department of Revenue license office in St. Joseph to provide more than 3,500 fraudulent identity documents to illegal aliens across the United States.


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Deborah J. Flores, 47, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to three years and four months in federal prison without parole. Flores is also jointly and severally liable for a $5,250,000 money judgment, which represents proceeds from the conspiracy.

On Oct. 18, 2012 Flores pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to transport illegal aliens, to unlawfully produce identification documents, to unlawfully transfer another person’s identification and to commit Social Security fraud from November 2009 to January 2012. Flores also pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft.

It is estimated that more than 3,500 licenses were issued to illegal aliens by the Department of Revenue license office in St. Joseph. The state licenses could then be used by the illegal aliens to remain unlawfully in the United States, to unlawfully obtain employment and for other unlawful purposes.

The illegal aliens were usually charged between $1,500 and $1,600 for the document sets and the Missouri driver’s and non-driver’s licenses. It is estimated that more than $5,250,000 in gross proceeds was paid by illegal aliens to members of this conspiracy.

In addition to Flores, five co-defendants have been sentenced and 11 co-defendants have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.

Flores’s sister, Sherri E. Gutierrez, 46, of St. Joseph, pleaded guilty on April 10, 2013 to being a leader or manager of the conspiracy and to aggravated identity theft. Flores’s children, Jessica M. Gonzalez, 22, Sara M. Gonzalez, 21, Christina Michelle Gonzalez, 24, and Stephen E. Vanvacter, 25, all of St. Joseph, have also pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy. Gutierrez’s daughter, Shayna R Vanvacter, 26, of St. Joseph, also pleaded guilty to her role in the conspiracy.

Gutierrez admitted that she assisted illegal aliens in obtaining birth certificates and Social Security cards in the names of others. These identity documents were used to obtain either a Missouri driver’s or non-driver’s license at the St. Joseph license office.

Flores, her children, Gutierrez and Shayna Vanvacter all admitted that they accompanied illegal aliens to the St. Joseph license office, under the guise of being translators, in order to assist them with obtaining a Missouri driver’s or non-driver’s license. They also admitted that they instructed and assisted the illegal aliens to practice memorizing the information on the birth certificates and Social Security cards and to practice signing the name on those documents so that the signatures would be similar. They also assisted the illegal aliens to prepare for potential questions from the license office employees. They also assisted the illegal aliens who did not live in Missouri by providing them with a Missouri residential address to use in order to obtain the Missouri driver’s or non-driver’s license.

Melissa L. Scallions, 27, of Hazelwood, Mo., and Jon L. Grippando, 25, of Atkins, Ark., have also pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy. They each admitted that they also accompanied illegal aliens into the St. Joseph license office, under the guise of being translators, in order to assist them with obtaining a Missouri driver’s or non-driver’s license.

Christina Gonzalez was sentenced to 32 months in federal prison without parole and ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution. Jessica Gonzalez was sentenced to three years of probation. Gutierrez, Sara Gonzalez, Stephen and Shayna Vanvacter, Scallions and Grippando await sentencing.

Julio Cesar Llanas-Rodriguez, 38, of San Antonio, Texas, was sentenced to five years and one month in federal prison without parole. Llanas-Rodriguez pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and to aggravated identity theft.

Along with co-defendants Martin Alejandro Llanas-Rodriguez,31, and Brenda De La Cruz, 33, also of San Antonio, Texas, his role in the conspiracy was to obtain state-issued birth certificates, usually from the state of Texas, which he purchased from willing individuals. He would also obtain a Social Security card in the name of the individual on the birth certificate, so he would have a matching document set. He mailed the documents to Gutierrez and others.

Brenda De La Cruz and Martin Alejandro Llanas-Rodriguez have each pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy and to aggravated identity theft and await sentencing.

Nelson Dariseo Bautista-Orozco, 27, a citizen of Guatemala who is unlawfully in the United States and resided in Carthage, was sentenced to three years and six months in federal prison without parole.

Ranfe Adaias Hernandez-Flores, also known as “Miguel,” 23, also a citizen of Guatemala who is unlawfully in the United States and resided in Carthage, was sentenced to two years in federal prison without parole.

Elder Enrique Ordonez-Chanas, also known as “Flaco,” 31, a citizen of Guatemala who is unlawfully in the United States and resided in Carthage, pleaded guilty on April 8, 2013 to his role in the conspiracy. The government contends that Ordonez-Chanas is also a leader or manager of the conspiracy. In addition to the conspiracy, Ordonez-Chanas pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft.

Ordonez-Chanas admitted that he assisted illegal aliens in obtaining birth certificates and Social Security cards in the names of others. Ordonez-Chanas requested document sets (of a specific age range for either a male or a female that corresponded with the illegal alien who was the customer) from co-defendants De la Cruz and Julio and Martin Llanas-Rodriguez. Ordonez-Chanas then mailed the documents sets to Gutierrez and others.

Luis Adalberto Felipe-Lopez, 30, a citizen of Guatemala who was unlawfully in the United States and resided in Mt. Olive, N.C., pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy as well as to aggravated identity theft. The government contends that Felipe-Lopez is a leader or manager of the conspiracy. Felipe-Lopez admitted that he transported illegal aliens between St. Joseph and North Carolina. Felipe-Lopez admitted that he assisted illegal aliens in obtaining birth certificates and Social Security cards in the names of others.

These identity documents were used to obtain either a Missouri driver’s or non-driver’s license at the St. Joseph license office.

Rafael Hernandez-Ortiz, also known as “Hugo,” 31, a citizen of Mexico who was unlawfully present in the United States and resided in Owatonna, Minn., pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy on April 29, 2013. Hernandez-Ortiz admitted that he transported illegal aliens from Minnesota to the St. Joseph license office.

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