LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Two San Fernando Valley men face federal prison terms this morning for participating in a document-trafficking ring that created and sold counterfeit United States passport cards, Social Security cards, driver's licenses and other documents.
Carlos A. Hernandez, 44, of Granada Hills, pleaded guilty in February to one federal count each of conspiracy and being a felon in possession of firearms, and Miguel J. Guerrero, 23, of Van Nuys, pleaded to one count each of conspiracy and producing false identification documents, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The government is asking the judge to sentence Hernandez to 2 1/2 years behind bars and Guerrero to two years.
A third defendant, Nestor Perez, 32, of Van Nuys, also pleaded guilty to two federal charges, and is scheduled for sentencing on July 19 in Los Angeles federal court.
The three men admitted their roles in the five-year scheme in which they worked to produce false identification documents that appeared to have been issued by the United States government, and driver's licenses purporting to be from multiple states, including California, Wyoming and Pennsylvania.
Hernandez took orders, some by text message, from customers seeking specific false identification documents. His co-defendants then manufactured and stored the fake IDs at a Van Nuys apartment used solely to produce counterfeit documents, prosecutors said.
After the fake IDs were ready, Hernandez notified customers and arranged for pickup times and places, usually in the parking lots of restaurants or pharmacies, in exchange for cash.
On Jan. 7, at the Van Nuys residence, the defendants were found in possession of 21 U.S. passport cards, 68 Social Security cards, five Lawful Permanent Resident cards -- commonly known as green cards -- two Employment Authorization Document cards, 135 driver's licenses, 11 foreign identification documents for Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Peru, and about 1,000 fraudulent authentication seals, court papers show.
Hernandez was also found in possession of $40,000 in cash at his home, prosecutors said.