SFV Man Sentenced To Federal Prison For Operating Document Mill

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A San Fernando Valley man was sentenced today to eight months in federal prison 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.

Nestor Perez, 32, of Van Nuys, pleaded guilty in April to one count each of conspiracy to produce, transfer and possess false identification documents, and producing false identification documents.

Two co-defendants were sentenced last week in the case.

Carlos A. Hernandez, 44, of Granada Hills, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison and Miguel J. Guerrero, 23, of Van Nuys, was sentenced to a year and eight months behind bars, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

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, according to prosecutors.

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, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

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, prosecutors said.

On Jan. 7, at the Van Nuys apartment, 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, who was also found in possession of $40,000 in cash at his home, pleaded guilty to one federal count each of conspiracy and being a felon in possession of firearms.

Guerrero pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy and producing false identification documents.

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