Three San Fernando Valley Men Charged with Running Counterfeit Document Ring that Created and Sold Dozens of False Passports, IDs
LOS ANGELES (STL.News) Two San Fernando Valley men were arraigned on a federal grand jury indictment alleging they were part of a prolific document trafficking ring that created and sold counterfeit United States passport cards, Social Security cards, driver’s licenses, and other documents.
Carlos Ayala Hernandez, a.k.a. “Juan Juarez,” 44, of Granada Hills, the 19-count indictment’s lead defendant; and Nestor Perez, a.k.a. “Daniel Perez,” 32, of Van Nuys, each pleaded not guilty to one conspiracy count, nine counts of production of false identification documents, seven counts of transferring false identification documents, and one count of possession of five or more false identification documents. Hernandez also pleaded not guilty to one count of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm.
On February 19, a third defendant named in the indictment – Miguel Juarez Guerrero, 23, of Van Nuys – pleaded not guilty to 18 charges related to the fake document mill.
According to the indictment filed on February 9, from January 2016 to January 2021, Hernandez, Guerrero and Perez conspired to produce false identification documents that appeared to have been issued by the United States government, and driver’s licenses purporting to be from multiple states, including California, Wyoming and Pennsylvania.
Hernandez and Guerrero allegedly received orders, some by text message, from customers seeking specific false identification documents. Hernandez and Guerrero then notified Perez, who manufactured and stored the fake IDs at a Van Nuys apartment used solely to produce the counterfeit documents, the indictment alleges. After the fake IDs were ready, Hernandez and Guerrero allegedly notified customers and arranged for pickup times and places, usually in the parking lots of restaurants or pharmacies, in exchange for cash.
On January 7, 2021 at the Van Nuys residence, the defendants possessed 21 U.S. passport cards; 68 Social Security cards; five Lawful Permanent Resident cards (commonly known as “green cards”); two Employment Authorization Document cards;135 driver’s licenses; 11 foreign identification documents for Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Peru; approximately 1,000 fraudulent authentication seals, according to the indictment. On the same date, Hernandez allegedly possessed $40,000 in cash at his residence.
An April 6 jury trial date has been scheduled before United States District Judge John F. Walter.
The three defendants in this case were arrested pursuant to a criminal complaint on January 27.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The charges related to the counterfeit documents each carry a statutory maximum sentence of 15 years in federal prison. So, if convicted of all charges in the document, the defendants would face potential sentences of decades in prison.
Homeland Security Investigations and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office investigated this matter.
Special Assistant United States Attorney Matthew C. Chan and Assistant United States Attorney Gregory D. Bernstein, both of the General Crimes Section, are prosecuting this case.