Charleston ID scheme organizer pleads guilty in federal court
A Charleston woman pleaded guilty today to her part as an organizer of an illegal driverís license scheme for illegal immigrants.
Alma Rosa Ortiz-Calzada, 56, pleaded guilty in federal court in Charleston to one count of conspiracy to transfer false documents and to transport illegal aliens.
Ortiz-Calzada did not work alone, according to federal prosecutors, who said other co-conspirators have also been indicted.
Ortiz-Calzada recruited illegal aliens in the Southeast, mainly in South Carolina to travel to New Mexico in order to get driverís licenses starting in July 2009 through June 2012, according to prosecutors.
In order to obtain a driverís license in South Carolina, one must provide proof of citizenship, but in New Mexico one is required to provide certification of driving ability and proof of state residency, such as a utility bill.
Ortiz-Calzada transported the illegal immigrants to New Mexico to get those licenses and back to South Carolina, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Rhett DeHart.
She charged each customer $2,500, DeHart said in court, and investigators have identified 55 customers in South Carolina who got fraudulent licenses.
Ortiz-Calzada faces a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine, as well as supervised release. Sheíll be sentenced in the next several months.
Read more in tomorrowís edition of the Post and Courier.
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.