Raphael Sanchez, a top attorney with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), reportedly resigned this week. Sanchez, who is the agency’s chief counsel in its Seattle branch, was charged Monday with stealing several immigrants’ identities to acquire money and property.
Sanchez was charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
According to documents filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, Sanchez attempted to defraud American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Citibank, Discover and JP Morgan Chase over a four-year period by using the personal information of seven people whose cases were being processed by ICE.
Prosecutors allege that Sanchez stole the name, Social Security number and birth date of a Chinese national identified only as “R.H.”
Prosecutors said that, on April 18, 2016, Sanchez sent emails from his official ICE address to his personal email containing a copy of R.H’s energy bill, as well as photos of his U.S. permanent resident card and a Chinese passport.
In the past year, under the Trump Administration, ICE has engaged in an extensive immigration crackdown, which includes raiding sanctuary cities and businesses across the country and deporting people without any criminal history.
These efforts are part of President Donald Trump’s immigration platform, which includes plans to limit both legal and illegal immigration, along with building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
A Department of Justice official confirmed that Sanchez submitted his resignation Monday. Sanchez is scheduled to appear in court for a plea hearing Thursday morning, according to the court calendar. This normally means that a defendant has waived indictment by a grand jury and intends to work out a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Sanchez’s attorney, Cassandra Stamm, did not immediately respond to The Washington Post for a request for comment.
As chief counsel, Sanchez negotiated a $2.25 million civil settlement in 2015 with a Washington apple orchard owner who was accused of hiring more than 900 employees who were not authorized to work in the United States.