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Cobb Counterfeit Ring Sent to Prison

An operation based in Cobb County sold identification to illegal immigrants.

Four members of a counterfeit document ring based in Smyrna were sentenced to federal prison Wednesday on charges of conspiring to produce fraudulent documents.

Ruben Osorno Altamirano, 31, Jose Luis Israel Legoretta Castillo, 31, Juana Hernandez Fonseca, 40, and Jose Molina Vasquez, 33, received sentences ranging from 10 months to two years in prison, plus two years of supervised release.

All are from Mexico.

U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a news release that the men ran a counterfeit identification operation out of a Smyrna laundry. They sold fake Social Security cards, permanent resident cards and other forms of identification.

“These defendants ran an operation that enabled many illegal aliens to get their hands on identification that made it appear as if they were legally in the United States,” Yates said. “This crime ... impacts our community in many ways, not the least of which is the negative impact on the credit history and financial well-being of people whose Social Security numbers were unlawfully used on the counterfeit documents.”

Homeland Security Investigations learned of the operation in January 2010 from the Metro Cobb Smyrna Task Force.

Undercover HSI and Secret Service agents purchased counterfeit documents from members of the ring throughout Cobb County between March 2010 and August 2011.

Agents were able to obtain a search warrant for an apartment shared by some of the members of the operation in September. They found printers and a cache of electronic files containing more than 2,000 images of Social Security cards, permanent resident cards, birth certificates and driver's licenses for more than 20 states.

Four co-defendants from Mexico also have pleaded guilty in the case and will be sentenced in the next few months: Tiburcio Martinez Santos, 21; Isidoro Espinoza Araujo, 44; Mauricio Jonathan Espinoza Hernandez, 20; and Edgar Marquez Salazar, 37.

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