LOS ANGELES – Two San Fernando Valley men who participated in an extensive scheme that produced and sold counterfeit identity documents – including United States passport cards, Social Security cards and driver’s licenses – each received federal prison sentences today.
Carlos Ayala Hernandez, a.k.a. “Juan Juarez,” 45, of Granada Hills, was sentenced today to 30 months in federal prison by United States District Judge John F. Walter. Also today, Judge Walter sentenced Miguel Juarez Guerrero, 24, of Van Nuys, to 20 months in federal prison.
Hernandez pleaded guilty on April 27 to one count of conspiracy to produce, transfer and possess false identification documents, and one count of being an illegal alien in possession of firearms. Guerrero pleaded guilty on May 3 to one count of conspiracy to produce, transfer and possess false identification documents, and one count of producing false identification documents.
From January 2016 to January 2021, Hernandez, Guerrero and Nestor Perez, a.k.a. “Daniel Perez,” 32, of Van Nuys, operated an illegal business in which they manufactured and sold false identification documents. These counterfeit documents included U.S. passport cards, lawful permanent resident cards (more commonly known as “Green Cards”), employment authorization document cards, Social Security cards, and driver’s licenses purporting to be from multiple states.
At the direction of – and in exchange for payment from – Hernandez and Guerrero, Perez manufactured the counterfeit identification documents at a Van Nuys apartment. Perez made the bogus documents using personal identifying information – including names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers – of real persons After manufacturing the phony documents, Perez provided them to Hernandez and Guerrero, who then sold the documents to others.
In January 2021, law enforcement executed search warrants on Hernandez’s residence and the Van Nuys apartment. In Hernandez’s residence – where Guerrero also lived – law enforcement found firearms, assorted ammunition and $40,483 generated from the false identification document scheme.
At the Van Nuys apartment, officers also found a robust counterfeit document lab, including approximately 243 completed false identification documents, approximately 1,000 fraudulent authentication seals, 14 printers, a scanner and an ultraviolet light used to test the security features on counterfeit ID documents.
Hernandez, a Mexican national, admitted in his plea agreement that he knew he was an illegal alien in the United States, including during the times he possessed the firearms.
Perez pleaded guilty on April 12 to one count of conspiracy to produce, transfer and possess false identification documents, and one count of producing false identification documents. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 19.
Homeland Security Investigations and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office investigated this matter.
Special Assistant United States Attorney Matthew C. Chan and Assistant United States Attorney Gregory D. Bernstein, both of the General Crimes Section, are prosecuting this case.