Defendants face life in Chicago ID-fraud case


Share
Posted Online: March 06, 2013, 8:53 am
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story

CHICAGO (AP) A trial in a massive, long-running counterfeit-documentation scheme centered in Chicago but that included a murder in Mexico City ended Tuesday with jurors finding three defendants should face mandatory life sentences.

The operation was based in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood and flourished for at least 15 years until authorities broke it up in 2007. It generated about $3 million in annual sales of fake Social Security cards, driver's licenses and other documents.

In a last stage of the six-week trial in U.S. District Court in Chicago, jurors determined Tuesday that Julio Leija-Sanchez, 37; his brother Manuel Leija-Sanchez, 45; and Gerardo Salazar-Rodriguez, 40, should get mandatory life for racketeering conspiracy because it involved murder.

The jury returned with guilty verdicts on multiple counts Monday.

It was Salazar-Rodriguez who carried out the murder of an up-and-coming rival in Mexico City in 2007, firing more than a dozen shots into a taxi cab, prosecutors said.

Authorities dismantled the operation and arrested dozens of suspects in 2007. At trial, prosecutors relied on hours of wiretapped conversations, including where Salazar-Rodriguez allegedly can be heard bragging to the Leija-Sanchez brothers about the murder.

At times, the counterfeiters sold 100 sets of fraudulent IDs each day for about $200 per set, which typically included a phony Social Security card, and either an immigration green card or a driver's license. Aspects of the operation also were conducted in Mexico, prosecutors said.

Sentencing was set for Sept. 12.














 



Local events heading








  Today is Saturday, April 19, the 109th day of 2014. There are 256 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Miss McCorkindale has opened millinery rooms over Gimbel's dry goods store, where she offers a choice lot of millinery goods, which she will manufacture to order.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The little South Park Presbyterian chapel celebrated it first Easter decorated with flowers for an afternoon worship service attended by a large congregation.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Wennerberg Chorus of Augustana College has returned from a 2,000-mile tour in the Eastern states and Illinois.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Col. Charles Lindbergh has stated that he is convinced that Germany's air force is equal to the combined sky fleets of her potential European foes.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Small gas motors may be permitted on boats in the lake to be built in Loud Thunder Forest Preserve. The prospect was discussed yesterday at a meeting of the Rock Island County Forest Preserve Commission.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The annual Dispatch/Rock Island Argus Spelling Bee continues to be a family tradition. Ed Lee, an eighth-grader at John Deere Junior High School, Moline, is the 1989 spelling bee champion from among 49 top spellers in Rock Island, Henry and Mercer counties. He advances to the competition in Washington, D.C. Runnerup was Ed's sister, Susan.






(More History)