Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Shattered DREAMers': "Better Lives In America" Come to an Abrupt End as Illicit Loan Business that Helped People Trafficking Outfits Closed Down


TUCSON – A joint investigation by Arizona and U.S. immigration authorities has led to the shutdown of a fraudulent title loan business that provided short-term loans that helped people trafficking organizations recover automobiles and other vehicles that had been confiscated on the border with Mexico.

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office announced Tuesday in a communique that – it had worked with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to shut down the title loan shop in Phoenix.

The shop provided fake documentation to “coyotes” – as people smugglers are known – for vehicle liens and foreclosure statements on the vehicles.

Then, when the authorities confiscated a vehicle they determined was being used to smuggle people or drugs, the business presented the documentation claiming to have the ownership of the vehicle.

Thus, they would be able to recover the vehicles, preventing them from remaining confiscated.

ICE and HSI began their investigation in 2011 when they learned that vehicles that had been seized during several human trafficking operations were seen once again at the border a few days after being confiscated.

The loan operation collected between $400 and $1,000 for each transaction.

Six people have been brought to court or are facing charges in connection with the scheme, including the owner of Garcia’s and Associates LLC, 56-year-old Alfonso Garcia, who remains at large. It is believed that he fled to Mexico.

Four people have been convicted in the matter and are awaiting sentencing, while another is still being sought by authorities. 


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