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Former ICE Chief of Counsel Sentenced to Four Years in Prison for Fraud and Identity Theft

Raphael A. Sanchez , former chief of counsel for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in Seattle- was sentenced to four years in federal prison for fraudulently opening up credit cards and taking out loans under seven immigrants’ identities during a period starting in 2013 and ending in 2017. Our gracious Justice Department offered the thieving attorney a plea deal in exchange for a breakdown of his elaborate scheme.


His crimes, which extended through two presidential administrations, consisted of defrauding several major financial institutions including American Express, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase via money wire transfers according to a filing by the Justice Department. This past Thursday, Sanchez pleaded guilty, admitting to using personal information of immigrants and forged documents to run up credit cards and other bills totaling $190,000.

Sanchez used credit monitoring services to determine which of his victims has the best credit, and he filed three victims as dependents on his income tax returns.

Given the gravity of the crimes, his sentence was fairly light. The courts, actually, asked him to relinquish his law license. He has to pay restitution to the tune of $190,000. But who those moneys will go to remains to be seen. They didn’t even permanently ban him from practicing law. A man who had the responsibility of deporting immigrants because bigots have determined that they shouldn’t be here for the very reasons for which he was convicted.

And this isn’t the first time that the Seattle office has been trash. Jonathan Love, an immigration prosecutor, lied and forged a document in order for Ignacio Lanuza to be deported in 2016 although his wife and small children were United States citizens. Lanuza sued the federal government and barely beat the lying system. Love was sentenced a measly 30 days in jail with 100 hours of community service.

The irony and audacity of asking immigrants to uphold the standards and laws of a nation that allows the people who are supposed to be the pillars of justice and righteousness to abuse their power is egregious. These appointees should be held to a higher standard of ethics and integrity. Then again, this wouldn’t be America if we actually did the right thing.

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