Two Guatemalan citizens who have been living in Missouri were convicted and are going to prison for their involvement in a conspiracy to obtain driver’s licenses for an estimated 3,500 people living in the U.S. illegally.
Background of the conspiracy
Under the new immigration reform bill, all immigrants no matter their status, will be able to apply for a driver’s license, but until then, scams run by people like Nelson Bautista-Orozco and Miguel Hernandez-Flores are not unusual. The U.S. Attorney’s office said that two more of the nearly 20 defendants in the case pleaded guilty to taking part in the scheme. Both men who were living in Carthage, Missouri, were sentenced this week and will go to federal prison on terms of three-and-a- half and two years. Prosecutors say that the conspirators made more than $5 million from 2009 to yearly last year by acquiring Missouri licenses. Missouri’s Department of Revenue implemented new license procedures as a result of the case and require office clerks to scan applicants’ personal documents after the charges were brought.
Why scams like these are common
This is not the first case of criminalsacquiring legal documents for undocumented immigrants. For those who are trying to work and support a family without legal status, even the simplest tasks of driving are near impossible without the proper paperwork. Unfortunately, many immigrant families are scammed out of large sums of money. The scammers will usually ask for an upfront fee, take the money, and run without providing any help at all. They can charge anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars depending on what documents the immigrant is looking for.
If and when the immigration reform bill passes, many of these scammers will be out of business because immigrants will be able to get all the proper documents to live and work legally in the U.S. without having to do it on the black market. If you have questions regarding the new immigration reform, applying for a visa or the changing immigration laws, contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.