For many, many years we've questioned the bizarre lawless nature of ICE -- Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- going back to the days when it was illegally seizing blogs, based on false claims of copyright infringement. We questioned what ICE had to do with censoring blogs in the first place. Of course, in the last year, ICE has been getting a lot more negative attention for something that is clearly under its purview: enforcement of immigration laws. Specifically, ICE has been almost gleefully demonstrating how they are thuggish bullies who are eager to deport as many people as possible. It's disgusting and inhumane -- and if you're going to be one of those people who pop up in our comments to say something ignorant about how if someone is here illegally they have no rights and should be booted as quickly as possible, go somewhere else to spout your nonsense. Also, seriously: take stock of your own priorities and look deeply at why you are so focused on destroying the lives of people who are almost certainly less well off and less privileged than you are, and who are seeking a better way of life.
But ICE's violent, gleeful thuggery seems to come easy to the organization -- and thus it should be little surprise that one of ICE's top lawyers has been charged with identity fraud and wire fraud in trying to use the identities of at least seven immigrants who were being processed by ICE. The indictment against Raphael Sanchez, the chief counsel for ICE in Seattle is quite a read.
Beginning in or about October, 2013, and continuing until on or about October 25, 2017, in the Western District of Washington, the defendant,RAPHAEL A. SANCHEZ,
devised and intended to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud financial institutions, including American Express Company, Bank of America Corporation, Capital One Financial Corporation, Citibank, Discover Financial Services, and JPMorgan Chase Co., by using the personally identifying information of seven aliens in various stages of immigration proceedings with the United States Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, and in doing so, transmitted and caused to be transmitted by means of wire communications in interstate or foreign commerce, writings, signals, and email communications for the purpose of executing such scheme and artifice to defraud; including but not limited to the following email "that SANCHEZ caused to be sent via interstate wires:
April 18, 2016: Email message sent from Raphael.Sanchez@ice.dhs.gov to Raphael.Sanchez@ice.dhs.gov and Raphael_sanchez@yahoo.com, containing a Puget Sound Energy bill addressed to R.H. for service at 3516 South Webster Street #A Seattle, Washington, and an image of a United States permanent resident card and the biographical page of a Chinese passport issued to R.H., originating in Washington and utilizing email servers in West Virginia and Mississippi.
That's the wire fraud part. The identity fraud part includes:
On or about July 5, 2016, in the Western District of Washington, the defendant,RAPHAEL A. SANCHEZ,
did knowingly transfer, possess, and use, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person, including the name, Social Security number, and birth date of R.H., a real person, during and in relation to a felony violation enumerated in 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(c), to wit, wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, as charged in Count One of this Information, in violation of 18 § U.S.C. 1028A(a)(1). .
I assume as the case against Sanchez moves forward, more details will come out about what exactly happened here. But, remember, this is at the very same time as ICE is asking to be reclassified from a law enforcement agency to an intelligence agency, giving it much greater access to surveillance data -- without a warrant. Just imagine the kinds of identity fraud ICE lawyers could pull off with that access....
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