Man defrauds Indiana BMV helping illegal immigrants

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By Jason Aubry

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – An illegal immigrant gets 33 months behind bars for helping others like him get registration and plates for their vehicles.

Paulino Ascencion-Apolino, 23, used a loophole that allows people to get vehicle registration without having to provide a valid social security number.

Because businesses don’t have social security numbers, Indiana allows them to use an IRS provided Employer Identification Number (EIN) instead.

The IRS allows that EIN to be assigned to people with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN).

That number is something the IRS typically issues people who do not have or are not eligible to get social security numbers.

Ascencion-Apolino would apply for an EIN, using the illegal immigrants ITIN, as if they were forming a Limited Liability Company.

He would then use the document the IRS would generate and send to him in the mail as part of the registration process at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

In addition to this elaborate scheme to avoid providing a social security number, Ascencion-Apolino would forge documents that were used to show residency.

On several occasions his company used a NIPSCO bill with an altered address. Other utility bills were used in the same way for other registrations.

In all, Ascencion-Apolino's company used this process 285 times.

After being arrested and charged with these crimes, Ascencion-Apolino pleaded guilty, accepting a plea deal.

As part of that deal, the government dropped some charges. Ascencion-Apolino stated he was fully aware the maximum sentence length for both of his charges is 20 and 10 years respectively.

According to court documents, his cooperation with federal authorities and his acceptance of responsibility for his part in the illegal activity helped reduce his sentence.

His sentencing memorandum states that Ascencion-Apolino entered the U.S. illegally when he was 14.

It goes on to say that he has finished high school; is married and in good health; has no substance abuse problems, and has never been convicted of any other crime.

The document states, because of those factors and the likelihood he will be deported after his sentence is complete, “Ascencion appears to pose a significantly lower risk of future criminal activity than most defendants who pass through this court.”

It goes on to state, “the sentencing guidelines ordinarily are the best measurement of the need to reflect the crime’s seriousness, to provide just punishment for the crime, and to deter others from committing the same sort of crimes.”

But not everyone agrees that Ascencion-Apolino’s sentence is sufficient.

Aggie Taets writes on ABC 57’s Facebook wall, “He should have gotten 33 years;” Janice Davis took it a step further, “Hang this man. Let the jobless [people] take him in and show him what they think!!! Hang him,” wrote Davis.

Meanwhile, Ryan Anderson took an opposite stance writing, “A guy who molested a little boy was sentenced to probation last week. A guy who helped better the lives of people is going to prison.

In March, Ascencion-Apolino’s employee Ramon Garcia will be sentenced for his role in the illegal activity.

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