Mexican man living in Urbana pleads guilty to voting, passport infractions

Mexican man living in Urbana pleads guilty to voting, passport infractions

URBANA — A Mexican national who has lived in Urbana for 11 years pleaded guilty Thursday to five counts in a federal indictment, four of which are related to voting by an illegal alien.

The other count says that 33-year-old Miguel Valencia-Sandoval made a false statement in an application for a U.S. passport.

But two more serious counts of aggravated identity theft against Valencia-Sandoval will be dismissed at the time of sentencing under a plea agreement revealed Thursday between his attorney, Anthony Bruno, and the U.S. Attorney's Office, represented by Bryan Freres.

Those two counts both require prison sentences.

Valencia-Sandoval signed off on the agreement in an appearance before Magistrate Judge Eric Long.

He will be sentenced in January by U.S. District Judge Colin Bruce. Long said Thursday that the maximum possible sentence would be 18 years in prison plus $800,000 in fines, although the defendant is eligible for a two-level reduction in the offense because he has acknowledged personal responsibility for his actions. And by the time he is sentenced in January, he will have served a year in federal custody.

Valencia-Sandoval also faces possible deportation, according to the plea agreement, although that is a separate judicial proceeding initiated by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Valencia-Sandoval has admitted that he paid $50,000 in March 2005 for the birth certificate of a Texas man, Ramiro Guerrero-Vasquez, and that he used it in 2012 to obtain a passport in Champaign.

Through records checks, ICE agents also determined that he registered to vote in Champaign County in October 2008, falsely swearing that he was Ramiro Vasquez, and that he had voted in elections in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016.

Authorities first were tipped off to Valencia-Sandoval's real identity in August 2016 when an informant went to the Piatt County Sheriff's Office.

Valencia-Sandoval most recently has worked for an Urbana drywall contractor. He has a wife and four young children who still live in Urbana. All four children were born in the United States.

He was arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border in Laredo, Texas, last January when he attempted to re-enter the country with the Texas birth certificate.

Federal authorities cautioned that Valencia-Sandoval's prosecution was not related to President Donald Trump's assertion that millions of people had voted illegally in the November 2016 election.

"Don't read any more into it than this," said Sharon Paul, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Springfield. "Someone brought the information about him to us. What are you going to do?"

But Bruno, Valencia-Sandoval's attorney, noted that Trump had made illegal voting an issue.

"It's important to remember that they captured him at the border January 7th. Thirteen days later, Donald Trump is inaugurated in Washington, D.C., as the 45th president after running on a platform of cracking down on illegal immigration and proclaiming to the whole country since November that 3 million votes were illegally cast," he said. "And then the FBI stumbles upon this case, and it's this lawyer's belief that when they realized he had voted illegally in federal elections, that became one of the driving factors on high, either with Homeland Security or the Justice Department."

Bruno said he believed the FBI investigation of Valencia-Sandoval gave prosecutors no choice but to file the voting-related charges.

"I know two things. I know that he was under criminal investigation, and he was in custody before they ever found (he had voted illegally). And I also know that they're the least serious of all the offenses he was charged with. And so I think Miguel Valencia-Sandoval was going to be prosecuted for passport fraud well before they ever found out he voted illegally.

"Once they found that out, I don't think they had much discretion about not charging him. It was part of the FBI's initial investigation to contact (Champaign County Clerk) Gordy Hulten, and once they did that, the FBI provided the U.S. Attorney's Office with documentation that appeared to show him voting in federal elections. I think that's when the prosecutor at this level says, 'Well, what am I to do? I'm going to have to charge him.'"

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cretis16 wrote on August 25, 2017 at 7:08 am

That's one down and 4,000 to go. THese illegals have destroyed the construction trades in Champaign County..taken away all the lawn care business and attend our schools FREE, whilst receiving free tutors, free meals and pay no taxes....ever wonder why your property taxes are so high. Not only does the states attorney give no help to catching these lawbreakers, but the schools will not even question residency? Huh......

cjw61822@hotmail.com wrote on August 25, 2017 at 7:08 am

Strange.

 

I thought candidate Clinton said that there was no evidence of illegals voting in the past election.

 

I must be mistaken as some believe I so often am.

APC wrote on August 25, 2017 at 9:08 am

Nice strawman. Build it yourself or did you have help from the alt-right news?

To repeat what almost everyone has said: no one has said that no fraud occurs - only that it is so low that the draconian voter registration laws that disenfranchise millions are abhorrant to anyone who favors a democratic system.

Last year “a comprehensive analysis from Arizona State University’s News21 project found only 2,068 accusations of voter fraud between 2000 and 2012. A mere 7.4 percent of those involved double voting. Voter impersonation, the sort of fraud that voter-ID laws are designed to combat, accounted for 0.5 percent of recorded fraud allegations. The United States runs one of the cleanest election systems in the world. There simply is no national voting fraud crisis.”

https://votingrights.news21.com/interactive/election-fraud-database/inde...

 

 

 

cjw61822@hotmail.com wrote on August 25, 2017 at 11:08 am

Democrat George Danos will not challenge the result of the Champaign County Auditor's race in court.

Danos lost to incumbent Republican John Farney by 36 votes then paid for a machine recount of nearly 27,000 votes.  Each candidate lost two votes in the recount.

Danos said Thursday that he considered asking for a recount by hand.  But he said through the help of volunteers, he got enough information about what a hand recount would reveal.  Danos added that he believes a full recount would not change the result, so he will not challenge the outcome in court.

 

This is within the .5   that you stated in your post above ( 1/2 of 1 percent or in this case..................135 votes)  enough to change an election through fraud would you not agree?

APC wrote on August 25, 2017 at 12:08 pm

Absolutely, which is why most states have a mandatory recount when the margin is less than a predetermined amount.  It is notable that no fraud was alleged or found here - thus the use of statistics shows that this would evince the lack of this being an issue.

There have been a number of notable elections that have been below this margin (e.g., look up "Landslide" Lydon").  However, given the rarity of these, as above, which is a better response to this issue - tighten restrictions to disenfranchise millions and throw most elections or (perhaps) one in 10-20 years?

The question is somewhat like: would you prefer to have a criminal justice system that assumes innocent until proven guilty (a few guilty people are not served justice) or guilty until proven innocent (massive numbers of innocent people are incarcerated)?

BruckJr wrote on August 25, 2017 at 2:08 pm

How would you define draconian voter registration?

Did the Arizona State comprehensive analysis identify Valencia-Sandoval?  He has been voting illegally for a decade so surely a comprehensive analysis by such an esteemed university would have found him.  On the other hand if they did not identify his illegal activity time after time after time, might there be others that they have missed?

CallSaul wrote on August 25, 2017 at 9:08 am

Much like climate change deniers think they've hit on a winning strategy by wondering so persuasively how there could be global warming when the temperature drops in winter, modern day Know Nothings and others who oppose immigration --- and immigrants --- will try to claim this as proof of the Republican party's longstanding mythology of rampant voter fraud.

Of course, none of the voter suppression measures the Republicans are enacting all over the country would have done a thing to stop this guy. But hey, it's not fair to bring actual facts to the discussion when we're talking about voter suppression by Republicans...

And this kind of impersonation is exceedingly rare and is generally found out and remedied. Much like the Republicans who recently and very foolishly believed their own propaganda and decided to get in on the fun by committing voter fraud themselves.

You know, to even things out. They discovered how hard it is to get away with in person voter fraud and they now have crimiinal records, just like this guy because they all got caught...

 

Illiniwek222 wrote on August 25, 2017 at 12:08 pm

Hey Sollie, Have you seen Esteban Tomas around your neighborhood lately?

cjw61822@hotmail.com wrote on August 25, 2017 at 10:08 am

"It's important to remember that they captured him at the border January 7th. Thirteen days later, Donald Trump is inaugurated in Washington, D.C., as the 45th president after running on a platform of cracking down on illegal immigration and proclaiming to the whole country since November that 3 million votes were illegally cast," he said. "And then the FBI stumbles upon this case, and it's this lawyer's belief that when they realized he had voted illegally in federal elections, that became one of the driving factors on high, either with Homeland Security or the Justice Department."

 

So is it his opinion that the past President DOJ would not have prosecuted this case if he was illegally voting?  Is that what Mr Bruno is saying that the past guy turned a blind eye to illegals voting in this country?

 

 

rsp wrote on August 25, 2017 at 11:08 pm

He's saying the guy was charged with more serious crimes, why would they go investigate if he voted? Illegal voting is a lesser charge. I personally wonder how the FBI and the DOJ have the time and manpower to check the voting records.

RatDog wrote on August 25, 2017 at 11:08 am

Just get him outa here with no prison time. I dont wanna pay to take care of him for 18 years especially if they would deport him anyway.

787 wrote on August 25, 2017 at 11:08 am

Here's proof that it happens, in sleepy little Urbana.

However, the liberals amongst us still want us to believe that it simply doesn't happen.

At what point does delusion end and mental illness begin?  We have a few candidates for a study...

APC wrote on August 25, 2017 at 12:08 pm

See the above comment in response to your comment "it just doesn't happen."

You have any more bugaboos?

 

CallSaul wrote on August 25, 2017 at 12:08 pm

When you have to lie about what others are saying, that's a big red flag to most people that the argument you're peddling is bogus.

Again and for the record --- though I have no doubt you'll ignore this and continue to clumsily misprepresnt the position of people opposed to the Republican voter suppression efforts --- no one claims it never happens.

In the very thread people have said that. But when arguments are weak, the temptation to lie is strong, huh...?

It's very very rare and ususally is found out, as in this case and the cases of the Republicans who were dumb enough to act on their own false propaganda claims about how easy it's supposed to be and who now have criminal records as a result of their gullibility...

BruckJr wrote on August 25, 2017 at 11:08 am

Duh.  I sure do wonder who Mr. Valencia-Sandoval voted for.

cjw61822@hotmail.com wrote on August 25, 2017 at 12:08 pm

That was not the case here now was it.  he had a valid birth certificate  He had a SSN  He had documents in someone elses name. He was in this country illegally for 10 years right?    Read the whole story before you comment on it.  If there is any fraud where upon people vote assuming other peoples ID that should be prosecuted to the fullest allowed by law.. correct?  After all it was congress who decided those laws, not the DOJ  not the FBI not the current or former President.  Congress.

 

As for guilty until innocent.  Uh............. you are aware that folks are in jail now that have been charged but not convicted right?

 

Is the guy in jail for murdering the gentleman in Downtown last week in jail now?  he is innocent right?

 

This case is within your .5 percent of fraud as well.

 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/chi-unresolved-illinoi...

APC wrote on August 25, 2017 at 12:08 pm

I did read the entire article and agree that he should be prosecuted (he will likely be deported).  Unlike you, who do not appear to think before posting as your solution to ensuring that no illegals vote is to not let anyone vote.  You are again missing the entire point - no one says that illegal voting does not occur, merely that it is a RARE occurrence and does not merit the response you would seemingly suggest. 

BTW - please provide me with an example of any LARGE system that is 100% effective. There is none. No corporation or government is 100% perfect.

In addition, your response is typically fallacious.  People are incarcerated prior to trial and have due process.  Merely because incarceration exists is not dispositive of their guilt or innocence.  The guy in jail is innocent until found guilty in a court of law. That is what the rule of law is - or were you unaware of this basic tenet of our judicial system here in the US?

 

billbtri5 wrote on August 25, 2017 at 1:08 pm

...fake news...Senator Durbin said there was no voter fraud....

Bulldogmojo wrote on August 29, 2017 at 7:08 pm

 

The ironies of the posters on here. LOL Some of these bigots don't even vote but they are sure this one guy is the head of some sleeper cell of Mexican secret liberal voters. The mind of the Trumpanzee slays me LOL

I for one welcome his vote if he voted for Hillary, at least he understood the issues at stake and was participating in an act of democracy that most of these posters on here are just too clueless to think through.

While they are ready to grab their guns and run as far as their local tavern over this man, they and the NG are silent about this...

"Hackers breach dozens of voter machines in minutes at Hacker conference".

http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/344488-hackers-break-into-voting-machines-in-minutes-at-hacking-competition

When does this civil war start again?? My money is on the literate. LOL