Top ICE lawyer charged with stealing immigrant IDs in Seattle


Raphael A. Sanchez, the chief counsel for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Seattle, was charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, according to The Associated Press.

According to The Associated Press, Sanchez resigned from the agency on Monday, Feb. 12, after he “stole the identities of seven people ‘in various stages of immigration proceedings’ to defraud credit card companies including American Express, Bank of America and Capital One” between October 2013 and October 2017.

The charging document, known as an information, alleges that Sanchez stole the name, Social Security number and birth date of a Chinese national identified only as R.H., according to The Associated Press.

The charges further state that on April 18, 2016, Sanchez sent himself an email through his government account containing an image of a U.S. permanent resident card and the biographical page of a Chinese passport issued to R.H., according to The Associated Press.

According to The Associated Press, the email also allegedly contained a Puget Sound Energy bill in R.H.’s name for service at an address in a southern Seattle neighborhood with a large Asian population, to which property records list Sanchez as the owner of the address cited in the information.

In 2015, Sanchez also negotiated a $2.25 million civil settlement with a Washington apple orchard owner who was accused of hiring more than 900 employees who were unauthorized to work in the United States, according to The Associated Press.

Sanchez is due back in court to enter a plea on Thursday.