Wake County Authorities Bust Fake Documents Ring
Posted January 21, 2002 1:40 a.m. EST
WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — Wake County authorities claim suspects made fake social security cards, birth certificates, and other important papers so customers could get real driver's licenses.
A routine call to a mobile home in Zebulon led to a fascinating discovery by a Wake County deputy. Authorities found evidence of computer hardware, software, embossing devices -- all used to make documents to help illegal immigrants get a driver's license or state ID.
"An average person may believe that they are genuine even under close inspection," said Lt. Steve Hale of the Wake County Sheriff's Office.
On Thursday, the Sheriff's Office arrested Evencio Alvarado for his part in the operation. Investigators are still looking for his brother, Antonio Alvarado, who has shown a knack for changing his look.
"Antonio's name is the one that continues to come up as the probable ringleader if you want to use that definition," Hale said.
The Sheriff's Office said the brothers purchased a bar and other property to launder the profits they made from their fake document mill.
The Latin American Resource Center claimed that while these two men may have been up to no good, most people on the receiving end of the documents are just using them to get a driver's license to get to and from work.
"They use the documents because they need to be able to drive from one place to another, they cannot really survive. In most cases, it is going to be good people," said Aura Camacho-Maas.
Investigators are not so sure.
"We don't know that. With these documents, you can commit all kinds of frauds, passing counterfeit checks, passing counterfeit payroll checks, which is an ongoing enterprise with these false identifications. You can commit a crime, disappear and create another identity," Hale said.
Investigators are not releasing the documents produced in the mobile home or the equipment seized. The U.S. Secret Service and the INS have also expressed an interest in this case.