Raphael A. Sanchez held a high position as chief counsel for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Seattle that paid $162,000 a year. However, Sanchez was not happy with that high salary and used his authority to augment his income by stealing the identities of undocumented immigrants. With all of of the perils of facing these people, they were victimized by the lead lawyer representing the United States government. He is now facing four years in prison which strikes me as rather low for this abuse of authority.
Earlier this year, Sanchez was charged with stealing the identities of seven immigrants. He would steal the identities of undocumented individuals and use them to open credit cards and secure loans. He pled guilty to all charges in exchange for this deal.
When he was arrested, he was worth $700,000 with an array of bank accounts and email accounts under different names. This includes fake driver’s licenses which entail separated federal offenses from wire and mail fraud. He even used the pictures of a murdered woman on some of the identifications.
The Department of Justice stated:
Once the accounts were approved and opened, Sanchez made charges or drew payments totaling more than $190,000 in the names of aliens to himself or entities that he controlled, often using PayPal and mobile point-of-sale devices from Amazon, Square, Venmo and Coin to process the fraudulent transactions. In a number of cases, Sanchez purchased goods online in the names of aliens and had them shipped to his residence. Sanchez also employed credit-monitoring services and corresponded with credit bureaus in the names of aliens to conceal his fraud scheme. Sanchez also claimed three aliens as relative dependents on his tax returns for 2014, 2015, and 2016.
What I fail to understand is why a plea deal was warranted for such a relatively short period of incarceration. This was a long premeditated criminal enterprise that misused official powers. It involves a myriad of fraudulent acts, including the falsification of driver’s licenses. Four years seems pretty light given the scope of criminality and culpability.
What do you think?