‘Lawyers work hard and, like us, they’re human, many of them’ — Dick Cavett

This is almost a nice time story, because while it’s about some heinous fuckery most foul involving Immigration and Customs Enforcement, it’s just plain old criming by a grifty ICE attorney, not some horrible official immigration policy turning America into an authoritarian hellhole people run away from to Canada. It’s almost a breath of fresh air to learn that the chief counsel for ICE in Seattle, Raphael A. Sanchez, has been charged with two felonies after allegedly stealing immigrants’ identities so he could then apply for credit cards in their names. The AP reported yesterday that Sanchez resigned on Monday.

And what a nice little scam Sanchez is accused of pulling! The sleazy Washington Post has the deets:

The charging document states that between October 2013 and October 2017 Sanchez used the personal information of seven immigrants to try to defraud several financial institutions, including American Express, Citibank and Bank of America. The immigrants were all “in various stages of immigration proceedings,” read the document signed by attorneys from Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section.

Isn’t it delightful to see some evil in our nation’s immigration system that has nothing to do with Donald Trump’s Deport Everyone policies? Sanchez had been running his grift for years, so he can’t even claim that Trump had inspired him to be dirty, as it were. Of course, there’s always the possibility he’ll be pardoned and given a job, since the administration keeps running out of people in top positions. He’d certainly fit right in.

The AP notes that the type of document used in Sanchez’s prosecution, called an “information,”

can be filed only when a defendant has agreed to waive his or her right to be indicted by a grand jury; it’s typically an indication that a plea agreement is in the works.

And indeed, Sanchez is scheduled to enter a plea tomorrow. Possibly because he’s agreed to a deal, the charging document isn’t especially detailed on the seven immigrants whose identities Sanchez (allegedly) made use of, though it does go into detail on his (alleged) theft of the personal data belonging to a Chinese national identified only as “R.H.”:

The charges state that on April 18, 2016, Sanchez sent himself an email through his government account containing an image of a U.S. permanent resident card and the biographical page of a Chinese passport issued to R.H. The email also allegedly contained a Puget Sound Energy bill in R.H.’s name for service at an address in a southern Seattle neighborhood with a large Asian population.

WaPo’s report includes this charming little detail:

Property records list Raphael A. Sanchez as the owner of the address cited in the information.

How’s that for a perfect stupid crime? Stealing the identity of someone applying for a green card (and apparently opening not just the credit card account, but also a fake utility account in their name?)? Was Sanchez also trying to deport the people whose identities he (allegedly) used, so they’d be less likely to show up and tell the credit card companies they’d been ripped off?

Yr Wonkette is not a lawyer, and we are only asking questions here. The charges against Sanchez are for one felony count each of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, but if he was also misusing his own position as an ICE attorney to influence his (alleged) victims’ immigration cases, that would be pretty damn big, no? Was that maybe part of a possible plea deal? Where can we find a good investigative journamalist when we’re only a mommyblogger?

We’ll keep you kids updated on this one if we find out anything more. We bet the Trump Justice Department will come down hard on any misconduct by a top counsel for ICE, because god knows they wouldn’t tolerate some corrupt official tarnishing ICE’s sterling reputation. After all, it’s the only out-of-control federal agency Trump has never criticized.

Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations. Please click here to send us money. Make sure you’re you first, OK?

[AP / WaPo]

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  • NotDarkYet

    Only if he’s a democrat.

  • Indiepalin

    Sanchez set up illegal accounts in the names of Long Wang, Hung Well, My Dong and Huang Hard

  • Scooby

    He’s innocent! He was just trying to get China to pay for the wall.

    • willi0000000

      “wall? . . . no thanks, we already have one.”
      – China

  • ((( Augustus )))

    Sanchez? Isn’t that a little… ethnic sounding?

    • BadKitty904

      Funny, he doesn’t look Sanchezish…

  • Nounverb911
  • Beowoof14

    Well that sounds pretty republican, I bet he is up for a big job in the White House. Trump really likes those crimers who do fraud. And he wants those guys working for him.

    • Boscoe

      So Treasury Secretary, then?

  • onedollarjuana


    • Boscoe

      Just as soon as they’re upgraded to an “intelligence agency”, yes.

    • Rooster Cogburn105

      Uniform discrepancies

      Tailored leather vs. Polos and “Jake from State Farm” khakis

      Don’t know about the better Xmas parties, ICE ones sucked and never went to the other fascist group gatherings

  • ICE, ICE, fraud, baby.

  • allie hubbard

    He’s innocent! He was just trying to get China to pay for the wall.

  • WotsAllThisThen

    Stealing everything from them as you deport them. Where have I heard this before?

  • therblig

    Sanchez had been running his grift for years, so he can’t even claim that Trump had inspired him to be dirty, as it were


    • SterWonk

      I didn’t, the first time around.

    • doktorzoom

      My middle name is Subtle Motherfucker.

      • Rooster Cogburn105

        Is it embroidered on your wallet a la Jules was in Pulp Fiction?

  • goonemeritus

    I’m legitimately worried that between Trump and all this rat fuckery committed by ICE we won’t have enough immigrants to support me in a style I hope to become accustomed to when I retire in a few years. God knows our native born millennial’s aren’t breeding enough to get the job done.

  • weejee

    Deport him to rural Somalia.

    • Nounverb911

      Make him live in the I-5 homeless camp?

      • OneYieldRegular

        But which one?

        • Peter Witting

          So many to choose from….!

      • birdbrain53

        That’s a long stretch of highway….

  • MynameisBlarney

    That is fucking evil.

    • SweetDeeKat

      It’s nauseating. Not just felony theft, but gross breach of trust. Wonder what he bought with the cards before they were cut off.

  • Victoria Ricola

    Wow. We live in peak dickhead times.

    • Boscoe

      I’d say that, but I’m sure they’ll just outdo themselves tomorrow.

    • Rooster Cogburn105

      Peak? They’re just warming up

  • Hobbes’ like, smart Evil Twin

    Sanchez had been running his grift for years, so he can’t even claim that Trump had inspired him to be dirty, as it were.

    Bravo, Dok.

    • doktorzoom

      I always go for the subtlety.

  • Very Stable Bozi

    Donnie has found his next faculty member for tRump University.

  • At least he didn’t whack ’em on the head and bury them under the floorboards like they did back when America was GREAT..

    At least, not that we’ve heard about yet.

  • dshwa

    It was The best of times; it was nope pretty much just the worst of times.

  • Just a reminder that Trump is trying to get ICE recognized as an intelligence agency so they can surveil and see confidential records without a warrant and shit.

    • Boscoe

      What’s the problem? Clearly ICE has the best people…

  • An Outhouse for the résistance

    So he’s a dirty Sanchez?

    • Msgr_MΩment

      What a Seattle Slapjack.
      /DON’T google.

      • aureolaborealis

        Better or worse than a Tijuana Mudslide*?

        * I actually thought I had made up a gross-sounding sex act/phenomenon. It already exists. Don’t google this one, either.

        • Msgr_MΩment

          Damn. I would have totally ordered one of those from the bartender.

          • aureolaborealis

            Well, if the bartender is hot and you have a high tolerance for feces …

  • ManchuCandidate

    Wow. Trump’s just mad he didn’t think of it first.

  • Monty Market

    Bob Odenkirk libel! “Better Call Saul” is better than that: traded in his bar card for a position at Cinnabon; much like Rachel Brand copped a position at Walmart.

  • Cornelius Fussbudget

    One would expect the Washington State Bar Association would have an opinion about this.

    Related digression: When my wife was being sworn in to the bar, a room full of graduates stood in front of a whole row of judges at a long table. Must have been 20 of them there, all robed up. The head judge said, “You will probably only stand in front of this many judges once or perhaps twice in your life. Today is hopefully your last time…if you find yourself in this situation again it’s because you’re in very big trouble.”

  • BadKitty904

    OT: Kochs Launch $4M Campaign Against Dems in Missouri, Indiana$4M-campaign-against-Dems-in-Missouri,-Indiana

    The Koch brothers are spending millions to attack two vulnerable Democrats for voting against the Republican tax overhaul.

    The Koch-backed group Americans For Prosperity plan to launch a $4 million advertising campaign against Missouri’s Sen. Claire McCaskill and Indiana’s Sen. Joe Donnelly. An AFP spokesman said Tuesday the ad campaign will run on TV and the internet for three weeks beginning Thursday.

    The ads accuse the senators of “voting against tax cuts for you” and “standing with” Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi “instead of us.”

    • ((( Augustus )))

      uch, those fucking assholes again

    • MynameisBlarney

      Fuck those goddamned bircher morans!

      • BadKitty904


    • Cornelius Fussbudget

      That’s their angle, really? They just need to take out a billboard with giant letters that say:


      • dshwa


    • An Outhouse for the résistance

      “I don’t think out-of-state billionaires and their possibly foreign dark money have the best intentions of my constituents in mind. I’m here to represent the fine people of this state”

      • BadKitty904

        In only the Dems would try that…

    • SayItWithWookies

      I hope the midwest Democrats being targeted embrace this fight — it’s almost like free advertising. “Open up your wallets and see what you didn’t get in exchange for making the deficit a trillion and a half dollars bigger. Yeah, that’s what I voted against.”

      • BadKitty904

        The first step would be publicly exposing – and keep exposing – this as a campaign created and funded by two billionaires who paid for and benefited from the GOP’s tax scam.

      • CripesAmighty

        “…for making the Koch Brothers, the Mercers and their pals a trillion and a half richer. While you get a stupid red hat.”

    • Arolpin

      My response would be:

      The Koch brothers are running ads saying I voted against tax cuts for you. If you make more than $500,000 a year, they’re telling the truth, because I voted against lowering taxes on the very wealthy. They are the only people who get permanent tax cuts.
      If you make less than $500,000 a year, they are lying to you. They lie about the benefits, they lie about how big your cut will be, they lie about what this will do to the deficit, they lie about who will have to eventually pay it off, and they lie about who they are. These are billionaires who don’t want to pay their fair share, and the Trump tax plan is saving them literally BILLIONS of dollars, so they are spending $4 million to prevent voters from knowing the truth.
      This tax bill increases the deficit by $1.5 trillion dollars, and 98% of the benefits go to the top 1% (or whatever the actual numbers are), AND when we finally have to pay off the $1.5 trillion, it’s going to come from everyone EXCEPT the 1%.

      I’m (targeted Senator) and I approve this message because the truth is important.

    • IMPOed

      The tip of the iceberg, this is Just the Kocks, wait till the rest unleash their new found wealth!!

      • BadKitty904

        Exactly. The 1% will use the billions their Republican minions just handed them to buy up even more political and media power.

  • Treg (ง •̀_•́)

    That special place in hell where people who harm their own, or are in trust positions and abuse it, is filling up fast.

    • RickyG

      So that’s what the smell is! 🤢

    • Boscoe

      Maybe it’s already full and that’s why we’re seeing so many of these asshats roaming the countryside…

  • TheGrandWazoo2

    Republicans everywhere: “D’oh, why didn’t I think of that?!”

  • La forza del resistino

    kinda related. Living in Chicago, I knew a bar owner/party ward hack. He had a mailbox next to the door with 56 actual out of ward names to fake their residency.

    • miss_grundy

      Pffftttt, that’s nothing in Chicago.

  • (((fka_donnie_d))), SOB

    If yo are a lawyer and you need to do credit card fraud to afford you Maserati and your mcmansion, you should reconsider your career choices

  • Lance Thrustwell

    Who says you can’t make money from poor people! Just takes a little ingenuity.

  • alwayspunkindrublic

    “He’s been doing this for years.” Translation: Obama’s fault. Wait for it…

    • Resistor Radio

      Yes, thank goodness we finally have a president that cares about corruption!

      • Mehmeisterjr

        Cares about corruption?

        Corruption is the only thing for which Donald Trump feels empathy.

        • Resistor Radio

          Yay, I’m so glad you hit that softball I slowpitched exactly over the plate ;D

  • SayItWithWookies

    Property records list Raphael A. Sanchez as the owner of the address cited in the information.

    That’s some pretty sly lawyerin’ right there — I can’t believe ICE scooped up this catch before the Assmouth campaign found him. Oh, wait — I forgot about his last name.

  • Msgr_MΩment

    Sanchez is dirty?

  • BadKitty904

    OT: EAT it, Butterbeans…

    Colorado Pot Sales Hit a Record $1.5 Billion in 2017

    Colorado marijuana shops raked in a record $1.51 billion sales of medical and recreational cannabis, edibles and concentrate products during 2017, according to Colorado Department of Revenue data released Friday.

    Adult-use sales topped $1.09 billion during the year, with the remaining $416.52 million coming from medical marijuana. Colorado collected upward of $247 million in taxes and fees revenue from marijuana sales, according to state finance data.

    • La forza del resistino

      Proud to be of service to my State. They really need to work on the cash only thing, I’ve spaced out and left more than one debit card in the ATM.

    • Arolpin

      I was snowboarding in Breckenridge this past weekend, and even though I have been to Colorado several times since they legalized recreational sales, this was my first time flying into Denver and taking a shuttle to the resort. The really striking thing for me was how MANY grow houses and retail shops there were not just between DEN & Denver, but between Denver and Summit Country. There was even a recreational shop right next to a gas station complex at an exist right off of I-70.

      I know that it’s a big tourism draw, but I hadn’t fully grasped how ubiquitous this business has become.

      Come on Gov. Murphy, bring NJ into the 21st Century! We can use the tax revenue, and we can also get all the NY folks crossing the river, because you know that the NY State Government won’t be able to pass legalization any time soon.

      • NastyBossetti

        I would also cross the river, but from the PA side.

    • Msgr_MΩment

      “Friends around the campfire and everybody’s high ” — John Denver

    • miss_grundy

      Hey! Perhaps Colorado could use the tax collected from pot sales to pay for its infrastructure?

      • BadKitty904

        They may have to since our Russo-Republican federal government sure as dammit isn’t going to…

  • MynameisBlarney

    With all the fuckery goin on lately, it’s easy to miss the cool things happening.

    Scienticians discover that 42 really IS the answer to life, the universe and everything.

    • Me_And_My_Arrow

      Hell, I’ve always known that.

      • MynameisBlarney

        NUH UH!

        • Me_And_My_Arrow

          Sorry for the inconvenience.

          • MynameisBlarney

            Thanks for all the fish?

        • capnkrunch

          DON’T PANIC

    • Resistor Radio

      Nerd alert! So cool!

    • that’s why Deep Thought took so long to check and double check.

  • Resistor Radio

    “…dirty, as it were.”

    • doktorzoom

      I’m glad someone caught that very subtle subtlety.

      • Resistor Radio

        I’m very observant

  • dshwa

    This will be Trump’s next budget director: This guy got Mexicans to pay for his stuff.

    • AJ Milne

      I dunno. I figure Trump might find such competence too threatening…

      (… also his surname.)

    • Snowbound Ron

      <golf clap>

  • The Very Stable Librarian

    Sanchez is not only grifty as fuck, but a predator of peoples trying to get on with their lives in a new country. Some Welcome mat. :P

  • Iam Reading

    Trump will pardon him and give him a cabinet position .

    • Bill D. Burger

      Could replace Kelly as CoS.

  • corruption in the GeStaPo 2.0? unpossible!

  • SweetDeeKat

    The felony means he can kiss his bar license goodbye, at least. Good luck with the Justice Department kicking his ass.

    • Peter Witting

      Don’t underestimate the Washington State Bar Aasociation. They protect their own.

      • miss_grundy

        But he has one of those funny foreigner names. Wouldn’t they try to deport him?

      • SweetDeeKat

        Eh, it’s normally hard to get disbarred anywhere, but felonies involving moral turpitude get noticed. It just takes the state bar awhile.

    • CripesAmighty

      Yeah, wait til word comes down from somewhere on high that this is “not a priority”, and subject to “prosecutorial discretion”. Mark my words: he’ll skate, and have a regular segment on Lumpy within a year.

    • Rooster Cogburn105

      New White House Chief if Staff in 3,2,1….

      Wait a minute “Sanchez?”

      Disregard and carry on

  • mary5920

    This is an ignorant statement but lots of comments on the internets are, so here goes: Can we just get rid of ICE all together, and would that help to make America a decent country?

    • MynameisBlarney

      If we kick all the nazis out of ICE, and other agencies, they’d get less evil in a hurry.

      • mary5920

        I love magical thinking. Maybe the Universe could poof them someplace else, to Nazi heaven, where all the businesses are owned by Jews.
        (Hell to them but we won’t tell them that ;-) And Mel Brooks is in charge of the operation there.

        • MynameisBlarney

          Yes, Mel Brooks would be a perfect fit for that.

        • doktorzoom

          Don’t you get any ideas about sending Melvin Kaminski upstairs just yet! He’s only 91 and has lots of tummling left to do.

          • mary5920

            Oh, I agree. Maybe my magic portal could give him a dual citizenship.

      • theblackdog

        True, though then they’d likely become police officers.

        • miss_grundy

          Police departments already have their fill of nazis, klanners, white supremacists and nativists.

          • ((( Augustus )))

            I wish you were right

          • Rooster Cogburn105

            Yeah, we’re pretty much up to our quota here. Have you tried the Sheriff Department next County over?

            Human Resources

        • MynameisBlarney

          Well, that’s one of the other agencies I mentioned.

      • Rooster Cogburn105

        Worked for that department whose name sounds better in the Original German 10 years

        Some, I suppose, are good people

    • Msgr_MΩment
    • La forza del resistino

      If ICE existed during my Irish forebear’s bootlegging days, I’d be writing this from an Aussie penal colony today.

      • ICE
        Agency overview
        Formed March 1, 2003; 14 years ago
        Preceding agencies

        Criminal investigation resources of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service

        Investigative and intelligence resources of the United States Customs Service

        Employees 20,000+ (2016)
        Annual budget $5.34 billion (2014)
        Legal personality Governmental: Government agency

        Credit: Wikipedia

  • Daniel Hooper

    See! Look at all these useless immigrants, sucking up our resources and not doing their fair share! Their names are there on all those unpaid bills! And don’t give me all these pathetic excuses like, “They didn’t actually do it” or, “Their names were used fraudulently”; more liberal coddling!

    • “M”

      That’s exactly how they sound. Which should scare the crap out of pretty much everyone who’s thinking, but I don’t want to bring the conversation down like that.

  • A Groucho Marxist

    I am going to attempt to recreate the funniest comment I have ever read here at Wonkette and apply it to this post:

    It’s important to have laws and stuff because otherwise people could just do whatever they wanted.

    Thank you, Derrick Wildcat!

    • AJ Milne

      Whoa. Whoa there, guy. Slow down, let the rest of Civics 202 catch up.

    • TJ Barke

      It’s been a while since I’ve seen Derrick…

  • Mehmeisterjr

    If Sanchez isn’t already a Cooley grad, they should at least award him an honorary degree.

    • Rags

      I’ve got a roll of those in my bathroom.

  • miss_grundy

    They only hire the best people at ICE!

  • CripesAmighty

    “Not part of the official Trump Deport Everyone policy…” Yet.

  • Snowbound Ron

    This gets spun into ‘Immigrants doing credit card fraud!’ in 3… 2… 1…

    • doktorzoom

      Oh Christ, you just know that’ll happen. How did I not think of THAT?

      • CripesAmighty

        And he’ll assert that it was merely an “innovation in civil forfeiture”, and it will be added to the ‘best practices’ section of the DOJ/ICE policy manual.

        • Karen

          Goℴgle is giving every one $97 per/hr to complete few services from a laptop .. Work Some just few time & stay more time together with your own loved ones . Any one can also apply this special offer!!last Saturday I got a gorgeous McLaren F1 just after making $10,000 this past six weeks .no doubt it is the coolest job however you could not forgive yourself if you don’t read this.!nx922s:➛➛➛ http://GoogleConsultingMakeMoneyOnlineJobs/get/cash/99$/per/hr ♥♥s♥♥k♥y♥♥♥a♥f♥f♥♥♥f♥♥n♥f♥♥a♥♥♥n♥♥h♥♥t♥♥t♥r♥♥m♥p♥d♥♥♥y♥i♥♥m♥v♥s♥♥♥j♥u:::!qw082c:cuq

  • Notreelyhelping

    Welcome to the land of opportunities.

  • aureolaborealis

    Obligatory wingnut double-down: “Um, ‘Sanchez‘?”

  • Mintie

    What’s that about Mexicans? Who’s the thief now? Can we say it again louder for the kids at the back?

  • OrdinaryJoe

    There is no place in hell hot enough for this guy.

    • Lord Jim

      Preying on the vulnerable is about as low as it gets. A reading of the Gospels shows that it even made JESUS pretty stabby.

      • BreakingDeadMen

        Please translate the Bible.

    • Querolous

      How do you say Kapo in Mexican?

  • Mavenmaven

    Next, the ICE agents will collect gold teeth and other valuables from immigrants they are “resettling”.

  • Ellie

    This story is unpossible. American citizens do not crime. ONLY illegals do; therefore this must be fake news.

    • Lord Jim

      I mean, RAPHAEL SANCHEZ? Come on, this guy has GOT to be a dirty illegal Mescan hisself. THINK ABOUT IT!

      • Ellie

        Of course! That’s it. Can he produce his long form birth certificate?

        • JustDon’tSayCAPSLOCK!!!

          I’m sure he can produce three or four.

      • Spurning Beer

        Raphael “Dirty” Sanchez

        • Rooster Cogburn105

          Twirls moustache in evil manner

    • BigWhiteDog

      Butter Emails right? It’s that Ben Gazy Guy!

  • Saul Goodman libel! Saul comes through for his clients. He never cheats them. He may bend (or break) the law for their benefit, but he would never use his position to screw over clients. As Jesse Pinkman put it: Sometimes you need a CRIMINAL lawyer.

    • Latverian Diplomat

      Well he did run an elaborate scam on the lead client of the retirement home case to convince her to settle early because he needed the money…so, he’s not bulletproof on charges of putting himself before a client…on the other hand…he felt bad about it…not a very lawyerly way to feel.

      • BreakingDeadMen

        That was Jimmy, this is Saul

    • doktorzoom

      Believe me, my only intent was to suggest a defense attorney for Mr. Sanchez.

    • BreakingDeadMen

      That’s what I thought when I read the bit about Trump’s lawyer paying off Stormy Daniels.

  • WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot

    So the guy named Sanchez is probably going to jail for trying to commit fraud, but John Stumpf of Wells Fargo is still walking around? Equal opportunity grifting or GTFO!

    • Smibo

      Note that Wells Fargo was conspicuously absent from the list of financial institutions Sanchez was charged with defrauding. WF would have opened up 47 other accounts on each of the fraudulent identities.

      • WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot

        Hah! That would have been awkward!

  • Snowbound Ron

    Doc wondered:

    Was Sanchez also trying to deport the people whose identities he (allegedly) used, so they’d be less likely to show up and tell the credit card companies they’d been ripped off?

    I’d put money on that.

    • javadavis

      Doesn’t matter, he just needs their details. How can they complain when filing a complaint risks deportation? I bet he tried the defense of just trying to smoke out those ebil aliens but it didn’t add up when compared to the credit card receipts.


    that’s not even the worst ICE story to break in the last 24 hours:

  • Ninja0980

    In the eyes of many, the only bad thing is that he got caught.

  • Dixie Gale

    I believe I have fallen in love with this headline.

  • Zyxomma


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