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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
June 16, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Office of Counter-Terrorism
- Sid Caspersen, Director

Division of Criminal Justice

- Vaughn L. McKoy, Director
Division of State Police
- Colonel Joseph R. Fuentes, Superintendent

 

Roger Shatzkin
609-292-4791
Capt. Al Della Fave
609-882-2000 x6514
John Hagerty
609-984-1936

 

Statewide Investigation Targeting Document Fraud Results in 11 Indictments & 13 Arrests
Office of Counter-Terrorism, Division of Criminal Justice & State Police Track Document Fraud as Part of Continuing Commitment to Public Safety

>> Defendant List

TRENTON — Attorney General Peter C. Harvey today announced the unsealing of 11 State Grand Jury indictments and the issuance of arrest warrants charging 19 New Jersey residents with trafficking in fraudulent documents or using fraudulent documents to obtain valid New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) driver’s licenses or identification documents. Thirteen of the 19 defendants were arrested yesterday morning and will make first appearances today in Superior Courts in Monmouth and three other counties. Authorities are still seeking the remaining six defendants.

Attorney General Harvey noted that the investigation, coordinated by the Office of Counter-Terrorism and New Jersey State Police and prosecuted by the Division of Criminal Justice, uncovered an underground operation which sold fraudulent Philippine immigration and identification documents to illegal immigrants from that nation. Through the use of fraudulent Philippine passports, drivers’ licenses, and other purportedly official Philippine and immigration documents, the alien residents were able to obtain valid New Jersey MVC driver’s licenses and identification documents in an attempt to establish legitimate residency in the state.

“Stopping document fraud is important to our security. We will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute people who attempt to obtain legitimate identification such as drivers’ licenses, using false documents,” said Attorney General Harvey. “Recognizing the significant security and law enforcement concerns surrounding document fraud, the Office of Counter-Terrorism, the Division of Criminal Justice, and the New Jersey State Police will continue to target potential dangers to citizens, including the fraudulent use of official documents to obtain valid passports, drivers’ licenses, and other supporting identification.”

“The Office of Counter-Terrorism initiated this investigation in part because document fraud is so often a terrorist precursor crime,” said Sidney J. Caspersen, Director of the New Jersey Office of Counter-Terrorism. “In this case, the individuals involved managed to obtain valid U.S. drivers' licenses fraudulently, just as a number of the 9/11 hijackers did. Moreover, we know that the Philippines has increasingly become a theater for terrorist groups, some with connections to al Qaeda. We will continue to investigate terrorist precursor crimes and, when in the end, there is no connection to terrorism, we will work with other agencies in the Attorney General’s Office as well as our federal, county and local partners, as we did in this case to prosecute this criminal activity."

“This investigation brings into sharp focus the important work of the State Police detectives and Investigators assigned to the Office of Counter-Terrorism,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes. “Each year on average they vet more than 4,000 investigative tips. Not all lead to terrorists. Today’s arrests stopped an organized document fraud ring, tomorrow it could be terrorists bent on killing innocent citizens.”

“The indictments allege that the principal operator was able to provide authentic-looking Philippine documents to illegal immigrants for use in obtaining valid MVC identification,” Division of Criminal Justice Director Vaughn McKoy said. “The sale of counterfeit and fraudulent identification documents remains a black market industry populated principally by individual entrepreneurs. Such counterfeit documents are sold to individuals seeking to remain in the United States — individuals otherwise unable to legally obtain valid identification documents. The Division of Criminal Justice will continue to target for prosecution crimes involving the sale of fraudulent identification documents to obtain valid state identification.”

According to Attorney General Harvey, the State Grand Jury returned 11 separate criminal indictments charging 19 individuals with varying crimes including forgery, tampering with public records, sale of simulated documents, falsifying records, and conspiracy. The charges carry penalties of up to five years in state prison and fines up to $15,000 upon conviction. The indictments were sealed on May 3 pending further investigation and the arrests of the defendants.

The indictments result from a 20-month investigation which targeted the sale of fraudulent Philippine identification documents which were used to obtain valid New Jersey drivers’ licenses at a black market, or street price, of $1,000. The leading indictment identifies defendant Romi Lumba as the alleged broker of the fraudulent documents and the person who would arrange for illegal aliens from the Philippines to obtain the documentation needed to remain in the United States. The indictments charge that Lumba sold Philippine passports with immigration stamps that appeared valid, as well as Philippine drivers’ licenses, which would allow the illegal immigrant to bypass taking a New Jersey driver’s test and to obtain a valid New Jersey Driver’s license. The suspect Philippine documents were submitted to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Forensic Document Laboratory where expert document examiners determined that the documents were counterfeit. The U.S. Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General also assisted with additional document verification.

The investigation determined that while Lumba was a Bergen County resident, he would travel to the Eatontown MVC office in Monmouth County to obtain the driving and identification credentials. At this point, the investigation has not determined that any MVC employee assisted Lumba or participated in the alleged illegal activity. It is alleged that once a “client” paid the $1,000 fee, Lumba would provide the underlying documents needed to obtain a valid New Jersey driver’s license, including counterfeit Philippine passport(s) and/or counterfeit I-551 documents or stamps (which are either a green card issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or the immigration stamp affixed to a foreign passport which allows employment until a green card is issued). The fraudulent Philippine documents would then be presented to the MVC as proof of foreign identification.

Colonel Fuentes and Director Caspersen noted that law enforcement officers from the New Jersey State Police, Office of Counter-Terrorism, the Division of Criminal Justice, United States Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General and ICE, along with representatives from various county prosecutor’s offices and municipal police departments, began the process of tracking down and arresting the defendants in the early morning hours on Wednesday. Sixteen defendants reside in Bergen County, one in Hudson County, one in Ocean County and one in Somerset County. The defendants were processed at the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and were transported to county jails for first appearances and bail hearings in Bergen, Monmouth, Ocean and Passaic county Superior Courts on Thurs., June 16. ICE will determine the immigration status of the defendants and will take appropriate action, including deportation, if warranted.

The Office of Counter-Terrorism initiated the joint-agency investigation after receiving confidential information that Lumba was in the business of obtaining valid New Jersey drivers’ licenses and identification credentials through fraudulent means. The New Jersey State Police, Division of Criminal Justice, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Social Security Administration (SSA) Office of Inspector General, Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Monmouth County Sheriff’s Department, Teaneck Police Department, Dumont Police Department, Moonachie Police Department, Little Ferry Police Department, Maywood Police Department, Bogota Police Department, Bergenfield Police Department, Jersey City Police Department, Somerville Police Department, and the Manchester Police Department provided investigative assistance. Deputy Attorney General Christine D’Elia, Division of Criminal Justice, Organized Crime and Racketeering Bureau, will prosecute the case.

The indictment was returned on May 3 and sealed by Mercer County Superior Court Judge Maria Marinari Sypek pending the arrest of the defendants. All charges are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The State Grand Jury indictments, including arrest warrants and defendant list, is available via the Division of Criminal Justice Web site at www.njdcj.org.

# # #


Defendant List

  • Romi Lumba, 47, 826 River Road, Teaneck, Bergen County. Charged with Conspiracy, sale of simulated documents (eight counts), tampering with public records or information (nine counts), forgery nine counts);
  • Mamerto Bonifacio (a/k/a Albert Bonifacio), 35, 349 Main Street, Bergenfield, Bergen County. Charged with conspiracy, forgery, tampering with public records or information;
  • Antonio Flores, 31, 88 Erie Street, Dumont, Bergen County. Charged with conspiracy, forgery, tampering with public records or information;
  • Edna Yabut, 43, 88 Erie Street, Dumont, Bergen County. Charged with conspiracy, forgery, tampering with public records or information;
  • Bernard D. Cancio, 36, 10 Pollock Avenue, Jersey City, Hudson County. Charged with conspiracy, forgery, tampering with public records or information;
  • Mieko Lumba (a/k/a Rafael V. Guinto, III), 38, 6 Henry Street, Moonachie, Bergen County. Charged with conspiracy, forgery, tampering with public records or information;
  • Evelyn Legacione-Alvaran (a/k/a Madeleine Lumba), 44, 826 River Road, Teaneck, Bergen County. Charged with conspiracy, forgery, tampering with public records or information;
  • Ann Monica G. Quiambao, 21, 170 Woodland Avenue, Little Ferry, Bergen County. Charged with conspiracy, forgery, tampering with public records or information;
  • Kathleen K. Quiamboa, 20, 170 Woodland Avenue, Little Ferry, Bergen County or 655 Pomander Walk, Teaneck, Bergen County. Charged with conspiracy, forgery, tampering with public records or information;
  • Cecilia Liwanag, 46, 16 2nd Street, Bergenfield, Bergen County. Charged with forgery and tampering with public records or information;
  • Romeo B. Musni, 38, 248 Merritt Avenue, Bergenfield, Bergen County. Charged with forgery and tampering with public records or information;
  • Erick S. Silva, 39, 60 Orchard Place, Maywood, Bergen County. Charged with forgery and tampering with public records or information;
  • Romeo Torre, 40, 249 Grove Street, Somerville, Somerset County. Charged with forgery and tampering with public records or information;
  • Buenventura Cena, 61, 60 Russell Road, Stratford, CT or 371 Sutton Avenue, Hackensack. Bergen County. Charged with forgery and tampering with public records or information;
  • Edgar R. David, 43, 110 Merritt Avenue, Bergenfield, Bergen County. Charged with forgery and tampering with public records or information;
  • Segismundo R. Dumlao, 38, 2013 Swanson Circle, Manchester, Ocean County. Charged with forgery and tampering with public records or information;
  • Cecilia Ocampo, 38, 65 Orchard Place, Maywood, Bergen County. Charged with forgery and tampering with public records or information;
  • Virgilio E. Sablan, 38, 102 River Road, Bogota, Bergen County. Charged with forgery and tampering with public records or information;
  • Rodolfo Sarmiento, 53, 822 River Road, Teaneck, Bergen County. Charged with forgery and tampering with public records or information.

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