Sunday, August 15, 1999

Alleged fake ID maker arrested

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        For the first time in memory, federal agents have shut down a Tristate plant producing bogus documents required by illegal immigrants to get work.

        Jose Rayon-Flores, 20, of the 5600 block of Alvina Avenue in Norwood, counterfeited U.S. Alien cards (“green cards”) and Social Security cards, federal agents say.

        “He was a wholesaler,” said Mike Davis, special agent in charge of the Secret Service's Cincinnati office.

        Patrick Elersic, officer in charge of the Immigration & Naturalization Service in Cincinnati, said the counterfeits were “very good quality” and “they would appear to be valid to a layman.”

        That was the key to their value, he said, because prospective employers must have those documents before they can hire an immigrant legally.

        This week, Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne L. Porter filed Mr. Rayon-Flores' agreement to plead guilty to one count of possession of at least five false identification documents with the intent to transfer them to someone else.

        The agents' statement of facts filed with U.S. District Judge S. Arthur Spiegel said Mr. Rayon-Flores assured undercover Secret Service Agent Jamie Carazo on July 1 that he could and would manufacturer the phony documents.

        Later that day, Agent Carazo and John Mercado, an undercover agent with Hamilton County's Regional Narcotics Unit, went to Mr. Rayon-Flores' apartment in Norwood.

        There, they agreed to pay $75 each for three green cards and three Social Security cards.

        Mr. Rayon-Flores took their photos with a Polaroid camera and used them and the phony names and birthdays provided by the agents to make the cards.

        An unnamed colleague of Mr. Rayon-Flores provided false Social Security numbers and entered them on the phony computer-produced cards.

        A week later, the agents offered Mr. Rayon-Flores $900 and he agreed to produce 30 Social Security cards with names and numbers provided by Agent Carazo.


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