Two charged in fake ID scam

Five others arrested for using false identification.

By: Marjorie Censer
   Two John Street residents were arrested Thursday for reportedly selling counterfeit identification cards.
   Princeton Borough Police Chief Anthony Federico said Junior Regalado, 27, and Jessica Puertas, 25, were illegally making and selling Social Security cards, resident alien cards and New Jersey identification cards.
   Lt. Dennis McManimon said each card was sold for about $100.
   Mr. Regalado and Ms. Puertas were each charged with 11 counts of manufacture and distribution of counterfeit government documents and possession of manufacturing materials and devices, as well as four counts of forgery, four counts of falsifying public records and one count of violating the anti-piracy act.
   Chief Federico said police confiscated $5,800 in cash, believed to be illegal proceeds, and more than 300 bootlegged DVDs from the house. Police said it is believed that the DVDs also were being sold from the house.
   Five other individuals were arrested Thursday as they were entering the house when police arrived and presented false identification, Chief Federico said. Charged with possession of false government documents were Erasmo Lopez-Gomez, 39; Noel Lopez-Ramos, 26; Isidro Sanchez, 20; and Fredy Vitalino Gonzales-Alvares, 32. Fredy Aldolpho-Paz, 35, was charged with hindering.
   The five were issued summonses and later released, because they were not directly involved in the distribution of government documents, police said.
   All five were also living in the John Street residence, which was rented by Mr. Regalado and Ms. Puertas, Lt. McManimon said. Though he originally believed they were married, Lt. McManimon said the two are not, but they do have children.
   Chief Federico said 21 people were living in the house.
   William Drake, the borough’s fire safety and building code inspector, said the owner of the house has had previous violations for overcrowding and for using the single-family home as a rooming house. Mr. Drake said up to 11 people are legally allowed to reside in the house.
   "We will vigorously prosecute the housing code violations," he said, adding that his office is waiting for the full police report.
   Maria Juega, chair of the Latin America Legal Defense and Education Fund, a Princeton-based immigration-rights activist group, said she was surprised and concerned by the arrests.
   "It’s one more incident that adds to the sense of insecurity in the community," said Ms. Juega. "It adds to the sense that things are really coming apart."
   Mr. Regalado and Ms. Puertas were held at police headquarters and later transferred to the Mercer County jail. Bail was set at $290,000 for each.
   The case has been forwarded to the county prosecutor’s office, Lt. McManimon said.
   Chief Federico said investigation of the case would continue. Officers will be looking into bank accounts to track down additional money that may have been earned illegally.