Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force (DBFTF)

Document Benefit Fraud

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) enforces an array of laws related to combating criminal organizations and individuals that exploit the United States immigration process.

Document and benefit fraud poses a severe threat to national security and public safety because it creates a vulnerability that may enable terrorists, criminals and illegal aliens to gain entry to and remain in the United States. Document fraud, also known as identity fraud, is the manufacture, sale or use of counterfeit identity documents such as fake driver's licenses, birth certificates, Social Security cards or passports for immigration fraud or other criminal activity. Benefit fraud refers to the misrepresentation or omission of facts on an application to obtain an immigration benefit one is not entitled to, such as U.S. citizenship, political asylum or a valid visa.

To combat this type of fraud, HSI has partnered with federal, state, and local counterparts to create the Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force, a series of multi-agency teams developed to target criminal organizations and beneficiaries behind these fraudulent schemes.

These task forces maximize resources, eliminate the duplication of efforts and produce a strong law enforcement presence. They combine HSI's unique criminal and administrative authorities with a variety of tools and authorities from other law enforcement agencies to achieve focused, high-impact criminal prosecutions and financial seizures.


Currently there are 19 document and benefit fraud task force locations in the United States:

  • Atlanta
  • Baltimore
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Detroit
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Newark, N.J.
  • New York
  • Orlando, Fla.
  • Philadelphia
  • Saint Paul, Minn.
  • Salt Lake City
  • San Francisco
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Washington, D.C.

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  • On Jan. 24, 2012, Earl Seth David, a Canadian-born, dual-citizen of Canada and the United States, was extradited from Canada and arrested in the United States for conspiracy, visa fraud, mail fraud and money laundering. He was the founding partner of Earl David and Associates, a large immigration law firm in the United States, and is alleged to have participated in immigration fraud stemming from that business from 1996 until 2011.
  • In January 2012, HSI conducted a large scale enforcement action as part of Operation Island Express, a multi-jurisdictional investigation, spearheaded by HSI Chicago and HSI San Juan, targeting the large-scale trafficking of legitimate Puerto Rico birth certificates and U.S. Social Security cards in 33 states, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Mexico. Twenty-eight HSI offices made arrests, with the bulk of the arrests taking place in areas overseen by HSI's Chicago and Puerto Rico offices. As of May 2012, the operation resulted in the execution of 74 arrest warrants, 84 indictments and 53 administrative arrests. Nationwide searches resulted in the seizure of fraudulent documents, fraudulent document making equipment, four firearms, $87,000 in Treasury checks, $50,000 cash and 1.8 kilograms of heroin.

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HSI will continue to establish new document and benefit fraud task forces in major metropolitan areas as resources permit. Expanding the coordinated interagency efforts of the document and benefit fraud task forces will prevent future abuses, while ensuring that those who do abuse the system are prosecuted to the fullest extent under the law.

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Operation Phalanx

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DMV Identity and Benefit Fraud

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