5 More Charged in Fraud Scheme for Immigrants

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) – Five more suspects four from St. Joseph are charged in a scheme to provide thousands of fraudulent identity documents to illegal immigrants.

Fourteen other people were charged in January in the scheme.

Prosecutors say they helped more than 3,500 illegal immigrants from across the United States obtain Missouri identification through the St. Joseph License Office. They allegedly made more than $5 million between November 2009 and January 2012.

The St. Joseph News-Press reports Christopher B. Escobar; Shayna R. Vanvacter; Melissa L. Scallions; and Jon L. Grippando, all of St. Joseph, were indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday. Rafael Hernandez-Ortiz, a citizen of Mexico who lives in Minnesota, also was charged.

Five of the original 14 defendants have pleaded guilty. One is scheduled to plead in October.

© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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