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October 7, 2011

Swapmeet Vendors Charged in Counterfeit Document Scheme


Sacramento —Investigators with the Calif. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) arrested eight individuals on Sept. 29, 2011, accused of manufacturing and selling counterfeit California Driver Licenses, Social Security Cards and Immigration and Naturalization Services Resident Alien Cards.

Four men arrested during the �buy/bust� operation face felony charges for violating Penal Code 113, manufacturing false documents for the purpose of concealing alien status. They are: Felix Prado-Torres, 32, Van Nuys; Ramon Cordero Martinez, 25, Van Nuys; Juan Ruiz-Lara, 41, Van Nuys; and Enrique Canales-Rodriguez, 50, Van Nuys.

Four additional suspects were taken into custody for federal administrative violations. They are identified as William Josue Ayala-Aviles, 18, Van Nuys; Alfonso Hernandez-Lopez, 36, Panorama City; Angel Pena-Aguilar, 49, North Hills; and Manuel Pena-Aguilar, 42, Van Nuys.

�The counterfeit documents are used for cashing stolen checks, fraudulently acquiring credit cards, defrauding businesses, and illegally driving on our roads and highways� said DMV Investigations Chief Kathryn Door. �These types of operations are critical in protecting the public from identity theft.�


Photographs of counterfeit documents confiscated by DMV investigators. (Some information has been intentionally blurred.)

A team of law enforcement officers with the DMV, Los Angeles Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security targeted the Bazaar Swap Meet at 6477 Van Nuys Boulevard in Van Nuys, where they served a search warrant on a vendor�s booth and confiscated fake identification cards and evidence of orders for future ones. Undercover officers said they pinpointed the location after the suspects solicited and sold illegal documents to them.

All eight suspects are being processed for deportation by the Department of Homeland Security. William Josue Ayala-Aviles is from El Salvador. The other seven men are from Mexico.

An estimated 1 million Californians were among the 8.1 million Americans who were victims of identity theft in 2010, according to Javelin Strategy and Research. The total cost of the crime was $3.7 billion.

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With the new “DMV NOW” Smartphone applications for the Android and iPhone, customers on the go are now able to make appointments, find a local field office, and take sample driving tests among many other options.

And, customers making advance appointments will automatically receive a courtesy reminder call three days in advance of their scheduled appointment. DMV’s “Appointment Notify” telephone system reminds customers about the date, time, field office location and type of appointment.

Don’t Stand In Line, Go Online! Doing business with the DMV has never been easier. The DMV offers an array of services to customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through its Web site (, including online appointments for written and drive tests; vehicle registration and driver license renewals, selection of personalized license plates, changes of address and payment of fees via secure debit transactions. Customers can also effect transactions by calling DMV customer service at (800) 777-0133. DMV is a department under the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.

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