ICE Attorney Charged With Stealing Immigrants' Identities

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Raphael Sanchez, chief counsel for ICE in Seattle, used the identities of seven people "in various stages of immigration proceedings" to obtain "money and property" from financial institutions, according to charges filed by the Justice Department.

He faces one count of aggravated identity theft and another for wire fraud.

Raphel A Sanchez, who was ICE's top attorney in its Seattle office reportedly planned to steal identities of seven immigrants over a time span of four years for financial gain, while their cases were being reviewed by the federal immigration agency. Sanchez resigned effective February 12, the day the information-a federal charging document-was filed in the Western District of Washington.

The charges state that on April 18, 2016, Sanchez sent himself an email through his government account containing an image of a USA permanent resident card and the biographical page of a Chinese passport issued to R.H. The email also allegedly contained a Puget Sound Energy bill in R.H.'s name for service at an address in a southern Seattle neighborhood with a large Asian population. The email contained a copy of a Chinese passport, an energy bill and a US residence card.

BuzzFeed reports that according to the complaint, the case against Sanchez was brought by the DOJ's Public Integrity Section in Washington, DC, a division overseeing corruption cases involving public officials.

His lawyer, Cassandra Stamm, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment early Wednesday. A 2015 press statement on the ICE website shows that he had been involved in enforcing matters related to employment, including one case in which an orchard was using undocumented workers.

The Justice Department also alleges that Sanchez used the identifying information, including a Social Security of a Chinese permanent resident.

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