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WEST JORDAN — A West Jordan man who is in the U.S. illegally has been arrested after allegedly posing as an ICE agent and defrauded at least a dozen Hispanic families under the ruse of expediting the legal documentation process.
Jose Marcos Gonzalez, 50, was arrested Friday after a sting operation set up by agents with Utah's SECURE strike force during which Gonzales took money from an undercover officer while promising to provide legal papers later on.
Police seized more than $1,700 from Gonzalez upon his arrest.
Gonzalez had allegedly been posing as a U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement official and charging an initial $5,000, plus recurring payments, without ever providing legal documentation to his clients.
He came to the attention of SECURE after one of his alleged victims came forward, at risk of deportation.
In one instance, a victim identified only as "R.M." gave Gonzalez a vehicle valued at $4,000 to expedite the legal documentation process. Additionally, between Sept. 25, 2011, and Feb., 2012, the client paid Gonzalez $5,500.
Investigators determined between June 1, 2011, and Sept. 19, 2012, Gonzalez defrauded at least a dozen families of $100,000 total.
Gregory Ferbrache, the prosecutor on the case, said the Attorney General's office is looking for more victims.
"Our investigation is ongoing," he said. "If anyone believes they are a victim, they are certainly welcome to contact our office."
Gonzalez has been charged in the 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City with two counts of communications fraud, a second-degree felony, and one count of forgery, a third-degree felony.
Gonzlalez is not legally in the United States, according to charging documents, and may face deportation if convicted. Prosecutors claim he "poses a flight risk" if released. Bail is set at $50,000.