SEATTLE (AP) – A former chief counsel for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Seattle has been sentenced to four years in prison for stealing the identities of people facing deportation and using them to run up bills totaling $190,000.
Raphael Sanchez, who was sentenced Thursday, resigned when he was charged in the four-year scheme in February. He had overseen immigration proceedings in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington as the agency’s top lawyer in the region.
Under a plea agreement in which Sanchez pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, the Justice Department and Sanchez’s attorney, Cassandra Stamm, agreed to recommend the four-year prison term. Prosecutors said he abused the public’s trust.
Stamm blamed the crimes on her client’s self-destructive tendencies, which she suggested stem from being brought up by an alcoholic, violent father.
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