GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A father and son from Kalamazoo were arraigned on federal charges of harboring, concealing or shielding an illegal alien, conspiracy, misuse of social security numbers and aggravated identity theft Tuesday in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Michigan.
Eddie Balderramas, 51, and his son, Michael Balderramas, 28, face seven federal charges with maximum penalties up to 15 years in prison per charge, if they are convicted. Both have no prior criminal history and are out on bond as their cases move toward trial.
"They’re very upset, these are very serious charges, anyone would be upset under these circumstances," said Heath Lynch, defense attorney for Michael Balderramas. "We’re eager to see what the government says it has by way of proof against Michael, and we will deal with the issues as they come."
The indictment documents allege between at least April 4, 2016 and July 20, 2017, the Balderramas would travel to New York City and bring illegal aliens to a home in Kalamazoo. The two would then allegedly provide false leases, pay stubs and other documents to make it appear the illegal aliens were Michigan residents. They would also allegedly take the illegal aliens to the Michigan Secretary of State Offices and use Puerto Rican documents of other individuals and other counterfeit documents to get an authentic Michigan driver's license.
According to the indictment, the third defendant is Michelle Martinez-Marte, who allegedly acquired the Puerto Rican birth certificates, driver's licenses and social security numbers and cards of actual people. According to officials, she was in federal custody in Boston last week. Documents state Martinez-Marte would also refer the illegal aliens to the Balderramas. She is also charged with identity theft and social security number fraud and harboring and concealing illegal aliens.