PORTLAND – A Mexican national who ran the Portland end of an operation selling fake federal identification cards to people in Maine who had come to the United States illegally pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Portland.
Roman Garcia-Lopez, also known as Romeo Bartalon, pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to produce false identification documents as part of a plea deal in which two other charges of transfer of false identification documents will be dismissed.
Garcia-Lopez, 56, was accused by federal Homeland Security Investigations agents of running the Portland operation from 2011 to May 2012. He was accused of selling permanent resident cards, commonly known as green cards, and Social Security cards to people in Greater Portland, court records said.
In May 2012, an undercover witness working with the federal agents purchased false documents from Garcia-Lopez for $180. The witness met with Garcia-Lopez at his Portland apartment on May 10, 2012, to arrange for a photograph and biographical information to be sent electronically. Two days later, the fake cards were mailed to the witness from an address in Atlanta, Ga., according to a court document filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
On May 15, 2012, a different informant working with the federal agents repeated the process, meeting with Garcia-Lopez and paying him $180 for false cards that arrived the following day from Atlanta, the court document states.
The person who produced the fake cards in Georgia was not identified in court records.
Garcia-Lopez has been in custody since his initial appearance on July 17 and is now being held at Cumberland County Jail.
Garcia-Lopez is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen on Jan. 23. He faces up to 15 years in federal prison.
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