• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Eyewitness News Exclusive: MacArthur Park center of fake documents raid

November 3, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Eyewitness News Exclusive: FBI and local law enforcement officials carried out a major raid to break up a massive fake documents ring centered in a MacArthur Park neighborhood.

Nearly two dozen people were arrested in various locations throughout the Los Angeles area in connection with the raid.

Along with the suspects, boxes of what appeared to be evidence were brought into a processing center in downtown Los Angeles at Alameda Boulevard and Temple Street.

The FBI says the suspects sold tens of thousands of false documents including green cards, social security cards and driver's licenses.

"They were such good documents, and they were of the type that they could allow somebody to take on a new identity," said Steve Gomez from the FBI. "They could basically fall off the face of the planet by having these types of documents."

Investigators said they were so good only an expert could tell they were fakes. Terrorists could use them, and that made them a national security concern.

"Definitely busting this ring and preventing these types of documents from being out there is a help to us in dealing with national security issues," said Gomez.

The false documents were created somewhere in the Los Angeles area. They were laminated and sold in California as well as other states. Officials say MacArthur Park was the center of the sales operation.

According to officials, the fake documents were used to support a variety of criminal activities from money laundering, illegal weapons sales and tax fraud.

It has been a major operation with many false documents seized and more arrests expected.

"We've been able to identify the supplier of the raw materials that go into these types of false documents," said Gomez. "And not only the supplier but the manufacturers, the people who actually make these false documents."

It is unknown how much money the operation brought in. But a fake driver's license can run anywhere from $400 to $500.

In addition to the FBI, the operation also involved the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Los Angeles Police Department and California Highway Patrol.

Load Comments