ICE Official Charged with Immigrant Identity Theft

A top Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) attorney has been charged with stealing the identity of immigrants in an effort to defraud several credit card firms. The chief ICE counsel in Seattle, Raphael A Sanchez, has been charged with one count each of aggravated identity theft and wire fraud, a charging document filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington, this week has revealed.

The Associated Press first reported the charges, both of which are felonies, on Tuesday, as well as revealing that Sanchez had given his resignation to ICE the day before. No official comment has yet been made by the ICE Seattle field office, the Department of Justice, or Sanchez’s defense attorney.

Sanchez is alleged to have used the personal data of as many as seven immigrants between October 2013 and October 2018, in an attempt to defraud many financial institutions, including the Bank of America, Citibank, and American Express. The charging documents, signed by attorneys from the Public Integrity Section of the Justice Department, also state that the immigrants whose identities were stolen were in different stages of the immigration process.

Sanchez is set to appear in court for a plea hearing on Thursday morning. His role in ICE included negotiating a settlement of $2.25 million with an apple orchard owner in Washington in 2015, who was accused of employing over 900 undocumented immigrants.