Eddie and Michael Balderramas Assisted Illegal Aliens in Obtaining Michigan Driver’s Licenses in the Identities of Other Individuals
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — Eddie Michael Balderramas, 51, and his son, Michael James Balderramas, 28, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, made their initial appearances today in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on an indictment recently returned by a federal grand jury.
According to the indictment, between at least April 4, 2016, and July 20, 2017, defendants conspired with a third individual, Michelle Martinez-Marte, to commit identity theft, social security account number fraud, and harboring and concealing of illegal aliens. Martinez-Marte acquired Puerto Rican birth certificates, driver’s licenses, and social security account number cards in the names of actual individuals. Martinez-Marte would then refer the illegal aliens to Eddie Balderramas. Either Eddie Balderramas or his son Michael Balderramas, would travel to New York City and transport the illegal aliens to Michigan, where they would be harbored at a home in Kalamazoo. Eddie and Michael Balderramas produced false leases, paystubs, and other documents to make it appear as if the illegal aliens were truly Michigan residents. Eddie and Michael Balderramas would then transport the illegal aliens to Michigan Secretary of State Offices and would use the Puerto Rican documents in the names of other individuals, along with the counterfeit documents of Michigan residency, to acquire an authentic Michigan driver’s license for the illegal alien using the name and other personal identifiers of an actual individual. The illegal aliens paid Eddie and Michael Balderramas for their assistance so that they could live in the country without detection by immigration authorities.
All defendants face up to 15 years’ imprisonment on the conspiracy charge, up to 10 years’ imprisonment for harboring, concealing or shielding from detection an illegal alien, and up to 5 years’ imprisonment for misuse of social security account numbers. The defendants also face a penalty of 2 years’ imprisonment consecutive to any term of imprisonment imposed for the other charges if convicted of aggravated identity theft.
Eddie Balderramas currently remains in the custody of the United States Marshal Service awaiting a hearing on his continued detention. The court released Michael Balderramas on bond. Martinez-Marte is in federal custody in Boston, Massachusetts, on related but separate charges.
The charges in an indictment are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.