A Department of Motor Vehicles clerk and five others are facing identity theft charges stemming from an alleged scheme to sell legitimate Puerto Rican birth certificates and Social Security numbers to create phony new documents.
Investigators, who worked for three years undercover, allege that many of the scheme’s “customers” were felons who had been deported, Thom Mrozek of the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Authorities are pursuing the so-called customers, he said.
Tracey Lynette Jones, 33, of Long Beach, who works in the El Monte office of the DMV, surrendered to federal authorities on Monday and entered a not guilty plea at her arraignment, according to Mrozek. Jones was released on $25,000 bond and given a Nov. 24 trial date.
She is accused of doctoring DMV records to make it appear that applicants had passed required exams for a driver’s license when they actually had failed them.
Jones and the five other co-defendants were named Sept. 30 in a four- count indictment charging them with conspiring to produce identification documents. Jones and some of the other defendants also face various other identity theft charges.
The other defendants, who were arrested last month, are Wilfredo Montero, 36, of Los Angeles; Adolfo Maria Cruz, 47, of Corona; Roberto Ruiz, 35, of Tustin; and Jose Cruz, 49, of Corona. Cruz is the only one who remains in custody.
Jorge “Diablo” Perez, aka Pedro Josue Figueroa-Marquez, is a fugitive. The 33-year-old is originally from Mexico, Mrozek said.
Montero is accused of leading the conspiracy that sold new identities for up to $5,000, Mrozek said. Those identities were created by using genuine birth certificates and Social Security numbers of Puerto Rico residents, he said. Investigators were trying to determine the source of the documents from Puerto Rico, Mrozek said.
— City News Service
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