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News Brief

Jan. 12, 2012ST. JOSEPH, MO |  By: Wayman

St. Joseph ID Arrests

Federal authorities raid the St. Joseph License Bureau.

The US Attorney out of Kansas City is calling St. Joseph a "The hub of a criminal conspiracy for thousands of illegal aliens who traveled to Missouri from across the country". The federal indictment says identity and documentation fraud has netted 14 arrests of suspects in Missouri, Texas, Chicago, and North Carolina. Those include the Flores family of St. Joseph: 45 year old Deborah Flores, her children 24 year old Stephen, 20 year old Sara Gonzalez, 23 year old Christina Gonzalez, and 21 year old Jessica Gonzalez, and Deborah's sister 45 year old Sherri Gutierrez. Investigators say they along with others in the other states started in November of 2009 to transport illegal aliens, to produce fake ID's, and commit social security fraud. They say the St. Joseph suspects would help the aliens through the process in the St. Joseph License Office under the guise of being translators, but coached then on memorizing the fake social security numbers and even helped them practice fake signatures. They allege some of the defendants then used the business bank account of A to Z auto credit, the used car dealership in St. Joseph to transfer funds. The FEDs say the fake ID ring was worth about 5 million dollars. Authorities say the illegal aliens were traveling to St. Joseph and bought more than 3,500 fake licenses at $1,500 to $1,600 each out of the Department of Revenue Office in St. Joseph.