4 charged in ID-forging scheme

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4 charged in ID-forging scheme

By CASSIE FOSS
cfoss@islandpacket.com
843-706-8125

info@islandpacket.com
Published Tuesday, December 14, 2010   |  278 Words  |  

Four people were arrested on charges of making fake identification documents Monday at a Bluffton apartment complex, and two of them are being held until their immigration status can be determined.

Beaufort County Sheriff's Office's Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents received a tip that identification was being illegally produced and sold at an apartment, according to a news release Tuesday.

Sheriff P.J. Tanner said late Tuesday that the investigation began several months ago after the Sheriff's Office received a tip. He said investigators have made similar arrests in the past.

Agents obtained a Social Security card and a permanent-resident card that were purchased from the four at the apartment, the release said. They also seized from the apartment items used to make the fake IDs, the release said.

The following were charged:

  • Melidza Cruz, 32, on felony charges of criminal conspiracy and forgery.
  • Santos Matia Suazo, 34, on felony charges of criminal conspiracy and forgery.
  • Oscar Funez-Ramirez, 27, on felony identity theft and fraud charges.
  • Luis Velasquez-Villatorro, 42, on felony identity theft and fraud charges.

Cruz, Suazo and Velasquez-Villatorro are being held at the Beaufort County Detention Center.
Suazo and Velasquez-Villatorro will be held until federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials can determine their immigration status, according to the jail log.

Funez-Ramirez posted bond and was released Monday. The bond amount was not revealed. Cruz and Suazo have bonds of $7,130, and Velasquez-Villatorro's bond is $262.50, according to the jail log.

The Sheriff's Office is still investigating, and more arrests are possible, according to the release.