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Judge to sentence 3 in major ID-fraud case

Published: Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 9:48 a.m. CDT

CHICAGO — A federal judge in Chicago is scheduled to sentence three men for one of the largest counterfeit-documentation schemes of its kind. It was centered in Chicago, but involved a murder in Mexico City.

There's little doubt about the outcome of Friday's hearing for Julio Leija-Sanchez, Manuel Leija-Sanchez and Gerardo Salazar-Rodriguez. Each faces a mandatory life sentence.

The counterfeit operation was based in Chicago's Little Village and flourished for at least 15 years until authorities broke it up in 2007. It generated about $3 million in annual sales of fake Social Security cards, driver's licenses and other documents.

Aspects of the operation were conducted in Mexico. Prosecutors say Salazar-Rodriguez carried out the murder of an up-and-coming rival in Mexico City.

Jurors convicted the men of multiple charges last year.

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