Friday 2 December 2022

Women earned up to ¢500,000 a day for falsifying and selling documents to foreigners

Immigration police began an investigation in September last year and managed to identify the detainees as the leaders of the group

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2 December 2022 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – Two women who, apparently, were leading a group dedicated to falsifying documents for foreigners were arrested by the immigration police this Thursday in Alajuela.

Immigration Police carried out two raids in Alajuela to arrest the leaders of a group dedicated to falsifying documents. Photo: Migración

According to authorities, in September 2020 an investigation was opened that established the existence of a group that was in charge of illegally marketing various certificates and identification cards, which had variable prices.

In the last nine months, it was established that they offered: Provisional Work Permit ID for refugees, issued by the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería (DGME) – Costa Rica=s immigration service, as well as driver’s licenses, food handling card and Baccalaureate degrees.

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The presumed leaders, who were in charge of preparing and distributing the documents they sold, respond to the surnames Chaves Campos and Moreno Maradiaga.

Migration specified that, previously, two suspects were detained for working with them.

“The (cost of the) documents ranged from ¢25,000 to ¢60,000,” said Stephen Madden Barrientos, director of the immigration police.

Although the exact number of how many daily documents were distributed is not known, being on a demand basis, it is estimated that per day they could obtain profits of between ¢400,000 and ¢500,00 (US$500 and US$800).

According to the investigation, the alleged members of the organization coordinated with foreigners with irregular immigration status (illegal in the country) and offered them their services.

A photocopier/printer and cash are among the seized items. Photo: Migración

In addition, it was determined that they were requesting personal data, passport-size photos with a white background and an image of the signature printed on a blank sheet for the preparation of the false documents, prepared in Chaves Campos’ home, while Moreno was in charge of delivering them.

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Immigration specified that as part of the investigations, they carried out inspections in different companies and detected the use of false documents prepared by the group.

“Foreigners used false documents in a variety of ways depending on their purpose, from the use of immigration IDs to evade authorities, to obtaining criminal record certifications, opening bank accounts, formal jobs in food industry companies, among others,” detailed the institution.

The director of the immigration police force explained that they will continue with investigations of this type, since it is not only a criminal act, but also public and national security is exposed for falsifying sensitive data.

Some documents were already ready for delivery, Migration reported. Photo: Migración

Key seizures

During the raids, authorities seized various items, including these seven cell phones, three printers, two guillotines, a card printer, a digital camera, a memory card, a computer, as well as other implements used to manufacture the documents and fake IDs.

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Also found was more than ¢4 million in cash, bank vouchers, as well as false documents already ready for distribution, including driver’s licenses, food handling cards, accreditations from the National Learning Institute (INA), and work permits for refugees.

The falsification of public documents is punishable from one to six years in prison and the of sale or distribution of false documents from three to six years, according to articles 366 and 369 bis of the Penal Code, respectively.

The Prosecutor’s Office reported that the investigation is grouped within file 21–000265–0305 – PE.

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