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ICE Lawyer Charged in Identity Thefts of Immigrants


An Immigration and Customs Enforcement lawyer in Seattle is being charged with wire fraud and identity theft after stealing seven client’s identities between October 2013 and October 2017.

Raphael Sanchez used immigrants’ identities to defraud several financial institutions including American Express, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, according to a filing by the Justice Department.

The filing includes an April 2016 email from Sanchez containing an energy bill of a Chinese national identified as R.H.

Sanchez resigned from his position on Monday, which included overseeing deportation proceedings in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

On Thursday he plead guilty, admitting to using personal information of immigrants and forged documents to run up credit cards and other bills totaling in $190,000.

Sanchez used credit monitoring services to to determine which of his victims has the best credit and he filed three victims as dependents on his income tax returns.

Sanchez is the second Seattle ICE lawyer to illegally use his position in recent years. Former agent Jonathan Love pleaded guilty in 2016 to forging documents in an attempt to deprive an immigrant of the legal permanent resident status.

“When law enforcement officials are the ones being investigated for crimes they have committed, and when long-time community members are being torn from their families due to unauthorized status alone, one must ask whether any increased investment in immigration enforcement makes sense for the nation, or for ICE, an agency that still needs to get its own affairs in order,” wrote Rich Stolz, executive director of the immigrant rights group OneAmerica, in a statement.