Four Individuals Charged and Arrested in Connection with the Sale of Fraudulent Native American Indian Documents to Illegal Aliens
August 29, 2008
R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Anthony V. Mangoine, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Miami Filed Office, Interim Director Jerry Geier, State of Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, announced today the unsealing of a multi-count indictment charging 4 individuals with Conspiracy to Commit Immigration Fraud, and substantive charges related to Mail Fraud, and the Sale of Fraudulent Immigration Document.
Early this morning federal agents arrested Audie Watson, 75, of Tamarac, Florida, Nancy Vertus, 40, of Lake Worth, Florida, Anibal Reyes, 38, and his wife Laura Reyes, 38, both of Port St. Lucie, Florida. According to the Indictment, these individuals were allegedly part of a scheme to sell fraudulent documentation through a company named Universal Service Dedicated to God, Inc., which was located in Tamarac, Florida.
Following their arrests, the defendants made their initial appearances before United States Magistrate Judge Barry S. Seltzer in Ft. Lauderdale. Defendants Anibal and Laura Reyes were arraigned and released on bond. Defendants Watson and Vertus are scheduled for detention hearings and arraignment on Wednesday, September 3, 2008.
Specifically, from August 2005 to the present, the defendants conspired to unlawfully enrich themselves through charging aliens who were not eligible for United States citizenship, a fee of one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) per alien or two thousand dollars ($2,000) per couple to make the aliens members of the Pembina Nation Little Shell Tribe. These fees were collected and documents issued for the fraudulent purpose of enabling the aliens to claim to be members of the Pembina Nation Little Shell tribe. This would allow the aliens to reside and work in the United States for the aliens to avoid removal.
If convicted, the defendants face maximum penalties of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for the conspiracy to commit mail and immigration fraud charge; and up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 for the mail fraud charge; and up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for the false immigration document charge.
U.S. Attorney Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, ICE, ABT, BSO, USPS, U.S. Social Security, USSS, ATF, MDPD, City of Miami Police Department, and FDLE. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jennifer Keene and Jeffrey Kay of the Ft. Lauderdale office of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.