Birth certificate dealers to be sentenced

Jan. 17, 2013 at 2:30 PM

MIAMI, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- A crime ring convicted of selling Cuban birth certificates, a requisite for Cubans applying for U.S. residency, faces sentencing in a Miami federal court.

U.S. District Judge Cecelia Altonaga is expected to sentence the three remaining members of the four-person network, who sold the fake credentials to undocumented immigrants and pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit immigration fraud, by the end of the week, the Miami newspaper El Nuevo Herald reported Thursday.

One has already been sentenced to six months in prison and two years of parole, court records said.

Cubans who arrive in the United States without a visa can remain in the country and apply for residence after one year and one day, providing they can prove they are Cuban citizens, the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act says.

Immigration authorities have developed sophisticated techniques to find examples of fraud, and can verify if birth certificates presented are authentic, Miami immigration attorney Wilfredo Allen said.

Presumptive ring leader Fidel Morejon Vega of Kissimmee, Fla., sold the birth certificates at prices ranging from $10,000 to $15,000 each while posing as a high-ranking immigration official, court documents said.

The scam netted more than $500,000, a memorandum in the case indicated.

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