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Birth certificates that were sent to city under investigation

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Catherine W. Idzerda
February 10, 2012
— The blank birth certificates were sent Fed Ex.

And Homeland Security signed for them—or rather intercepted them before they reached their destination in Janesville.


At 7:50 a.m. Wednesday, Janesville police officers assisted Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a check of the package's destination: an apartment on Woodlane Drive, Janesville.


The package contained "blank authentic Puerto Rican birth certificates where the names … could be filled out to capture or make a person's identity," according to police reports.


The man who lives in the apartment allowed authorities to search his home. The man's name was not on the package, and he said he had no idea who sent it to his address.


A spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement said no arrests were made but would not give out any other details.


It's not clear if Wednesday's incident was connected to "Operation Island Express," a two-year undercover operation run by ICE. On Jan. 11, ICE announced that 50 people had been accused of conspiring to sell the identities of hundreds of Puerto Ricans to undocumented immigrants on the U.S. mainland in what authorities called "the largest single fraud case" in the organization's history.


People buying the documents often use them to obtain additional identification documents.


In December, a Twin Lakes man who allegedly sold three matching sets of Puerto Rican birth certificates and Social Security cards to an undercover agent was indicted in federal court on identity fraud charges.


The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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