By Allan Lengel
Former Chief Counsel Raphael A. Sanchez of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) was sentenced this week to four years in prison for an identity theft scheme involving the identities of numerous aliens, the Justice Department said.
Sanchez, 44, of Seattle, pleaded guilty on Feb. 24, to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Aside from the sentence, U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik of the Western District of Washington also ordered Sanchez to pay $190,345.63 in restitution.
Sanchez, who was responsible for immigration removal proceedings in Alaska, Oregon and Washington, admitted he devised a scheme to defraud aliens in various stages of immigration removal proceedings with ICE.
Sanchez used the personally identifiable information of those aliens to open lines of credit and personal loans in their names, manipulate their credit bureau files, transfer funds to himself and t purchase goods for himself using credit cards issued in their names.
“Raphael Sanchez was entrusted with overseeing the honest enforcement of our country’s immigration laws,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Cronan in a statement. “Instead, Sanchez abused that trust, and capitalized on his position at ICE to exploit his victims and line his own pockets.”