Top ICE Attorney From Seattle Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Identity Theft and Wire Fraud

Raphael Sanchez, the former chief counsel for the Seattle office of Immigrations and Customs (ICE), has pleaded guilty to stealing the identities of numerous immigrants who came through his office. More specifically, Sanchez pleaded guilty to aggravated Identity theft and wire fraud. Sanchez was the head ICE attorney for many states in the northwestern United States, including: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska.

According to the Factual Basis For Plea, Sanchez, from October 2013 through October 2017, intentionally devised a plan to defraud financial institutions by using identities of different aliens in various stages of their immigration hearings. Some of the financial institutions Sanchez defrauded included: American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, and JPMorgan Chase. In total, Sanchez used the identities of eight different aliens to steal over $190,000 from these various lenders.

To carry out his plan, Sanchez used the ICE computer data base system to access personal information regarding various aliens. After accessing the aliens files, Sanchez would then take their personal information and make fake Washington State Driver Licenses, Social Security cards, and utility bills. When Sanchez would steal a male identity, he would use his real picture. When he would steal a female identity, Sanchez would use the picture of a murdered woman.

After successfully stealing these aliens identities, Sanchez would then open credit cards and shell companies under the aliens names. Further, Sanchez claimed three of the various aliens as his dependents on his taxes for 2014 all the way through 2016. The fact that some of these aliens were already deported or in deportation hearings made it a lot harder for the Department of Justice to discover the fraud. In addition to the eight identities Sanchez stole, there were about twenty other aliens identifying information found at Sanchez’s home.

Sanchez’s sentencing hearing is set for May 11, 2018. The prosecution and defense have jointly recommended a four year sentence.

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