Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office

                                 25 Kirkpatrick Street, 3rd Floor, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 08901 (732) 745-3300

 

                              *News Release*                 Date: February 7, 2014

 
 

       

 

 

 

 

Eight charged with seeking bogus driver’s licenses

 

          Middlesex County Acting Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey and Andrew McLees, special agent in charge of U.S. Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, (ICE) Newark, announced that eight people were arrested today and charged with creating false identity documents to obtain official driver’s licenses from the New Jersey Motor Vehicles Commission.

 

An intensive and wide-ranging investigation by a variety of federal, state, county and local agencies determined that each of the seven men and one woman acted individually to obtain driver’s licenses to secure a variety of benefits that are afforded U.S. citizens.

 

Seven of the men were arrested during a series of early-morning raids at their homes in various communities in Middlesex County and in Trenton. One of the defendants already was in custody at the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center in North Brunswick on unrelated charges.

 

Acting Prosecutor Carey commended the efforts of law enforcement agencies that spent numerous hours investigating and tracking the defendants.

         

“Criminals who obtain false identification documents often have nefarious intentions to use those documents to commit other serious crimes,” Acting Prosecutor Carey said.

 

“I commend the efforts of all who investigated and captured the defendants, including members of the task force led by ICE Homeland Security Investigations. Coordination between law enforcement agencies is essential to the success of operations such as these,’’ the acting prosecutor said.

 

McLees, special agent in charge of ICE, Newark, said “fraudulent documents threaten the security of all citizens by making it easier for criminals to hide from law enforcement while committing a range of offenses.

 

“This case illustrates the excellent partnership between federal and local law enforcement to halt a scheme that could have posed a significant threat to national security by providing aliens with false identity documents,’’ McLees said.

 

He and Acting Prosecutor Carey noted that in addition to homeland security and the prosecutor’s office, the case was investigated by officials from the U.S. State Department Diplomatic Security Service, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Office of the Inspector General, the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department and the New Brunswick Police Department.

 

The wide-ranging investigation began when authorities from the New Jersey Motor Vehicles Commission obtained information showing the defendants fraudulently obtained drivers licenses at state MVC offices in East Brunswick, Edison and South Plainfield.

 

Generally, the defendants forged fake identity documents, such as birth certificates, and then used them to obtain driver’s licenses, complete with their names and photos. In some instances, some defendants also used false names on the licenses.

 

The investigation showed that the individuals obtained licenses on various occasions during the past four years.

 

The defendants, all of whom currently are in custody waiting to post bail, are charged with identity fraud, possession of false government documents and uttering forged instruments.

 

If convicted, they each could be sentenced to prison terms of five to 10 years.

 

Acting Prosecutor Carey said the defendants are charged with violating state laws and will be tried in state Superior Court.

 

The defendants have been identified as: Mario Crispin (DOB 2/11/66) who is being held at the adult corrections center; Manuel Pangol (DOB 1/2/74) of Milltown; Nestor Valdes, (DOB 10/6/59) Freddy Chavarrria, (DOB 6/10/81) and Elido Torres, (DOB 7/19/68) all of New Brunswick; Daniel Henigan (DOB 12/30/88) of Trenton; Eduardo Alegria (DOB 9/7/77) of the Somerset section of Franklin Township, and Angelica Pinos (DOB 12//21/1977) of Jamesburg.

 

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against these individuals are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.