Prosecutors Say ICE Attorney Stole Immigrants' Identities

By William Vogeler, Esq. on February 15, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Raphael A. Sanchez may be wishing he had another identity right now.

The attorney for Immigration and Customs Enforcement allegedly stole seven immigrants' identities to get fake credit cards. A charging document says he emailed documents, including a resident card and a passport, to open credit cards in their names.

Sanchez is reportedly working on a plea deal, which he will need to make in his own name. He should know; he was chief counsel for the Seattle office until he was charged.

Identity Theft

Federal prosecutors charged Sanchez with one count of identity theft and one count of mail fraud. They allege he started stealing identities in October 2013.

In one instance, he sent an immigrant's information from his work email address to his personal email address. It included images of a U.S. permanent residence card and a Chinese passport.

According to the court record, Sanchez devised a "scheme to defraud financial institutions," including American Express, Bank of America Corporation, Capital One, Citibank, and JP Morgan Chase.

The ABA Journal and other media reported that a plea deal is in the works.

Mail Fraud

18 U.S.C. 1843, the mail fraud statute, carries a potential prison term of 20 years. It is commonly charged in identity theft cases.

If convicted, Sanchez will probably do jail time because of the aggravated identity theft charge and his position as a top attorney at ICE. The Seattle office has actively participated in immigration enforcement.

That includes "Operation Safe City," which involves arresting immigrants in "sanctuary cities."

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