A San Fernando Valley man Tuesday admitted to 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 to one federal count each of conspiracy and being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He is set to be sentenced on July 12.
Hernandez admitted that from January 2016 until three months ago, he and two others 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 federal prosecutors.
Hernandez received orders, some by text message, from customers seeking specific false identification documents. He and a co-defendant then notified a third man, who manufactured and stored the fake IDs at a Van Nuys apartment used solely to produce the counterfeit documents, according to the indictment filed in Los Angeles federal court.
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, court documents show.
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, according to the indictment.
Hernandez was also found in possession of $40,000 in cash at his home, prosecutors said.