Their Info Was in ICE's Hands. Bigwig Is Accused of Stealing It

Raphael Sanchez, chief counsel for Seattle's ICE office, has been indicted
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2018 8:16 AM CST
Complaint: ICE Lawyer Stole Immigrant IDs to Defraud Banks
Raphael Sanchez is accused of stealing immigrants' personal info.   (Getty Images/brazzo)

The lead attorney for Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Seattle office abruptly resigned Monday, with an indictment charging him with wire fraud and identity theft handed down the same day. The identities Raphael A. Sanchez is accused of stealing, per BuzzFeed: those of seven immigrants whose cases the agency was reviewing, which Sanchez then allegedly used to "defraud" at least a half-dozen financial institutions, including Citibank and Bank of America, according to the complaint. Per the AP, Sanchez's alleged victims were said to be in "various stages of immigration proceedings." In one case, he's accused of forwarding a Chinese national's personal details—including info and images from the person's permanent resident card and passport—to his own personal Yahoo account.

The alleged "scheme" is said to have taken place between October 2013 and October 2017. Both charges are felonies, the Washington Post notes. The specific paperwork filed in the indictment—which the complaint notes was driven by the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section, designed to fight corruption of elected and appointed public officials—suggests a plea deal is in play, as it waives the defendant's right to a grand jury indictment. Few other details were available in the brief three-page complaint, with Sanchez's attorney noting she'd be releasing a statement after his Thursday court appearance. (Stories of ICE detentions are making headlines.)

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