According to federal investigators, the West Michigan man’s business card indicated that he was from a company providing painting services. Though the back of the card was adorned with an image of Jesus, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations says there was nothing saintly about his alleged attempts to sell fraudulent Social Security and Permanent Resident cards.
He has been charged with a federal felony: transfer of false identification documents. If convicted he could be sentenced to up to 15 years in a federal prison.
According to a news report, the man offered to sell the pair of falsified documents for $200.
According to court documents filed in Grand Rapids, the suspect has alleged ties to a criminal organization in Chicago, the report stated. The complaint was filed by a Homeland Security special agent.
Investigators apparently had an informant call the suspect and ask to buy the fake documents. About a week later, the suspect delivered the papers.
A few days after that, investigators obtained a similar business card – complete with the image of Jesus on the back – though the second card was for “Home Remodeling, Home Estimates, Good Prices.” The phone number on the two business cards was the same, however.
When the informant inquired about another set of Social Security and Permanent Resident documents, he was allegedly told the price would be just $180, provided that he bought more than one set. A sale was arranged and documents were provided two days later, officials said, for a total of $540.
Of course, it’s impossible to tell from a sparsely detailed news article whether or not the allegations are accurate. In far too many cases, reporters take the official version of events at face value without asking a single question of authorities.
Fortunately, everyone is entitled to a presumption of innocence and representation by a criminal defense attorney dedicated to protecting rights and freedom.