January 22

Mexican man sentenced for selling fake green cards in Maine

After 10 months in prison, Roman Garcia-Lopez will be handed over to immigration officials for removal proceedings.

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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, was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Portland to serve 10 months in prison.

Roman Garcia-Lopez, also known as Romeo Bartalon, pleaded guilty in September 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, 57, 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, 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.

Judge Nancy Torresen ordered that Garcia-Lopez be turned over to immigration authorities for removal proceedings following completion of his prison term.

Scott Dolan can be reached at 791-6304 or at:

sdolan@pressherald.com

Twitter: @scottddolan

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