Local News

Raleigh man accused of heading fake documents ring

Posted February 24, 2011 3:53 p.m. EST
Updated February 24, 2011 10:48 p.m. EST

— A Raleigh man oversaw a multi-state operation that supplied phony Social Security cards and other documents to illegal immigrants and funneled the profits back to Mexico, according to a federal indictment unsealed Thursday in Richmond.

Israel Cruz Millan, 28, placed managers in cities in 11 states, from Massachusetts to Arkansas, who then oversaw groups of "runners" who drummed up business for the operation and arranged transactions with customers, according to the indictment.

The cost of fraudulent documents varied on the location, with counterfeit green cards and Social Security cards typically selling for $150 to $200. Each local cell maintained detailed sales records and divided the proceeds between the runner, the manager and upper-level managers in Mexico.

The indictment states that members of the organization wired more than $1 million to Mexico between January 2008 and last November 2010.

Cruz Millan used violence to intimidate competitors and control the fake documents trade in various cities, according to the indictment.

On Oct. 29, for example, he used a teleconference to broadcast the beating of a runner in Raleigh who he thought had stolen money and fake Social Security cards from the operation, according to the indictment.

"During the call, the listeners could hear sounds of the victim screaming as a result of the beating," the indictment states.

In other cities, runners would pose as customers for competing organizations and then assault the people who tried to sell them fake documents, according to the indictment. In Little Rock, Ark., one competitor was killed in such an attack.

The indictment charges 22 people with racketeering. They also face charges of conspiracy to produce and transfer false identification documents and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Five people have already pleaded guilty in the case. 

"The indictment portrays a deadly criminal organization that uses brutal violence to eliminate rivals, protect its turf and enforce discipline against its own members," U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride said in a statement.

“Fraudulent documents give people the appearance of lawful status and provide them a ticket to access and opportunities to which they are not entitled," John Morton, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in a statement.

Dorian Sanchez-Acosta ran the ring's Raleigh operation from a home on White Hall Avenue, according to the indictment. Gabriel Soberanas-Grada ran the Greensboro operation, and Juan Arroyo-Pantoja ran the Wilmington operation, the indictment states.