WORCESTER -- A 15-year-old computer whiz and his 11-year-old brother allegedly were part of a sophisticated forgery operation that created fake immigration cards and Social Security numbers for undocumented immigrants.
The two Worcester youths and a 27-year-old man were arrested on Cape Cod Wednesday evening as they were allegedly on their way to deliver fake IDs to customers, the Telegram and Gazette reported.
The 15-year-old, a Brazilian immigrant, was allegedly printing fake identifications in a Worcester apartment and selling them mainly to other Brazilians who used the IDs to get work, said Worcester police Detective Thomas P. Looney.
"They definitely put a lot of thought into this," said Looney. "The kid, we were told, is a computer genius."
Because of the fake Social Security cards and immigration work authorization cards, the US Postal Inspection Service and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs and Enforcement have taken over the investigation.
Police pulled over the 15-year-old as he was driving a 2003 Dodge truck worth $30,000. Barnstable police Detective Brian Guiney said that the juvenile produced a fake Brazilian license that listed him as an 18-year-old. The truck is registered to the boys' 38-year-old mother.
Police said when the youths were taken into custody in Barnstable, they had several fake identifications with their customers' pictures and fingerprints on them.
The 15-year-old was arraigned Thursday in Barnstable Juvenile Court on motor vehicle charges. The 11-year-old was turned over to his mother. Because of their ages, the youths' names and addresses were withheld.
The 27-year-old man allegedly had two identifications, each with a different name. Guiney said the man was booked as Marcello Vidal of Worcester. He is also known as Wardy Santos.
Guiney said that the 15-year-old sold the identification documents for $150 each. Each packet consisted of three identifications for $450. The identifications included a Social Security card, an immigration work authorization card with a photograph and fingerprints, and an international driver's license.
"To the patrol officer, these IDs look real," Guiney said. "The federal task force, or the fraud squad, knew right away they were fake. These IDs look real good. The employment authorization cards looked better than the rest of them."
Looney said a Thursday morning search of the apartment where the cards were allegedly made yielded a computer, a fingerprinting machine, a digital camera, and a scanner. Investigators said they also found stamps with a Brazilian government logo, false documents, and a laminating machine.