6 charged with trying to fraudulently obtain IL drivers licenses

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BETHALTO, IL - Six people are facing charges tonight after they were arrested over the weekend for trying to fraudulently obtain Illinois drivers licenses in Bethalto.

Bethalto police crediting state workers for helping to crack the case.

Jason Lamb, the Deputy Chief of the Bethalto Police Department, identifies those in custody as 48-year-old Jose Manuel Barradas-Geron, 24-year-old Omar Fernando Ortiz Grandados, 39-year -old Saady Francisco Hernandez Potillo and three brothers...27-year-old Cristobal Vargas Avalos, 29-year-old Martin Vargas Avalos, and 30-year-old Juan Manuel Vargas Avalos.

Each of them faces a forgery charge for allegedly using a fraudulent statement from Bank of America to try and obtain Illinois drivers licenses at a Bethalto Secretary of State`s office on Saturday.

“The numbers on the bank statements were the same with different names on all the same documents,” explained Lamb about the fake documents.

Lamb says the licenses were to be for the three brothers and Grandados.

He tells us Potillo was acting as an interpreter and Barradas-Geron was the head of the operation.

Lamb says workers at the Secretary of State`s office realized something was wrong and called the police.

“I`m encouraged that the Secretary of State picked up on this and they alerted us so quickly to come out and investigate,” said Lamb.

Lamb says the four were going to use a Kia for their driver`s test.

Police found key evidence in that car.

Lamb explained, “There was a computer, a printer, a scanner, some cell phones and some documentation that matched that of what the suspects had used inside the Secretary of State`s office to obtain those IDs.”

The three brothers and Grandados were arrested right away.

Lamb says the interpreter took off when workers called the police and returned later with Barradas-Geron in a pick-up truck.

Lamb says they were trying to get to the Kia that the evidence was in...that`s when they were arrested.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White released a statement reading in part, “I commend the staff at the Bethalto driver services facility for their keen attention to detail which helped lead to the arrest of six individuals using fraudulent documents.”

Lamb added, “I`m just glad we were able to stop these individuals before they got these IDs issued to them.'

Bethalto police have called in authorities with 'ICE' or Immigration and Customs Enforcement to help in this investigation.

Lamb says none of the suspects is from the St. Louis area.

Their bonds were all set at $30,000 each.

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