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Immigrants charged with making fake documents

ATLANTA - A Gwinnett man was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiring to unlawfully manufacture and possess fraudulent identification documents, the United States Attorney's office announced Tuesday.

Francisco Santillan Arellano, 36, is one of eight illegal immigrants indicted on charges related to producing bogus identification documents, including Social Security cards, permanent resident cards, driver's licenses and identification cards from multiple states. The U.S. Attorney's office alleges the documents were to "encourage and induce aliens to reside in the United States in violation of the law."

Arellano, who lived in Gwinnett near the DeKalb County line, is also charged with aggravated identity theft and being an alien in possession of a fireman. The aggravated identify theft charge carries a mandatory, consecutive two-year sentence to any qualifying criminal sentence when the defendant uses a real person's identity, according to Patrick Crosby, a spokesman with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia.

Arellano was arrested by federal officers March 25 for immigration violations, Crosby said. He also faces a separate charge in DeKalb County. A status hearing will be held in several days, he said.

The U.S. Attorney's Office alleges Arellano and the other defendants named in the indictment manufactured the fraudulent documents at several apartments in the Atlanta area using computers, laminating machines, and other equipment and supplies.

The operation was foiled when the defendants allegedly sold fraudulent documents to confidential informants and an undercover investigator, Crosby said. In many cases, the fraudulent documents contained Social Security numbers and alien registration numbers that had already been issued. More than 70 fraudulent documents obtained by authorities contained personal identifying information belonging to real persons, he said.