CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 38-year-old resident of Luling has
been sentenced in Corpus Christi federal court for identity theft, announced
Acting United States Attorney Abe Martinez. Joey Ornelas, 38, pleaded guilty
May 26, 2017.
Today, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos imposed a
mandatory 24-month prison term to be immediately followed by one year of
supervised release. At He was further ordered to pay nearly $4,000 in
During a traffic stop, authorities observed what they
believed to be a counterfeit driver’s license. The license bore the name and
driver’s license number of another person but displayed Ornelas’ photograph.
Law enforcement conducted a search of his vehicle and discovered more than 20
additional counterfeit Texas Driver’s licenses. They also found fraudulent
checks with names matching those on the counterfeit licenses but bearing the
account and routing numbers of other individuals. Some of the checks and
identities were linked to previous fraudulent purchases from around the state.
Also in his vehicle was equipment to produce high quality
counterfeit checks including magnetic inks along with materials for creating
fraudulent Texas driver’s licenses needed to pass counterfeit checks.
Authorities determined Ornelas was receiving photographs of authentic driver’s
licenses of unsuspecting victims from co-conspirators which he would use in the
production of the counterfeit
At the time of his guilty plea, Ornelas admitted he had
knowingly used the identification of others to facilitate the commission of his
He will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau
of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The Secret Service conducted the investigation with the
assistance of the George West Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert
D. Thorpe Jr. is prosecuting the case.