According to a filing by the Department of Justice, seven people had their identities stolen by the chief counsel for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Seattle branch.
The filing states that Raphael Sanchez devised a scheme to use the immigrants’ identities in order to defraud financial institutions including American Express, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of America. In his capacity as chief counsel, Sanchez was responsible for deportation proceedings in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
The filing, which was entered in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, cites an email sent in April 2016 from Sanchez’s work email to his Yahoo account, containing an energy bill addressed to a Chinese national identified only as “R.H.” as an example of a communication by Sanchez with intent to defraud. The same email included a photo of R.H.’s U.S. permanent resident card as well as a copy of the biographical page from his Chinese passport. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that Sanchez then used R.H’s information to pay the energy bill.
Raphael Sanchez resigned from the agency on Monday, per the Associated Press, and he was charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, occurring between October 2013 and October 2017. Mr. Sanchez appeared in court on Thursday, February 15th. As Sanchez had waived his right to be indicted by a grand jury, it was clear that he would likely enter a plea agreement.
Mr. Sanchez did plead guilty as expected.
After Sanchez’s plea on Thursday, Acting Director Thomas Homan said, “At the top of ICE’s core values is integrity with an expectation that our employees adhere to the highest standards of honesty and professional conduct.”
Mr. Homan also said he was “appalled” by Sanchez’s crime.