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Gangbangers openly sell fake IDs, green cards to migrants on NYC streets as officials warn of danger

Criminals with ties to MS-13 and other gangs are selling fake green cards and social security cards to migrants on street corners in Queens — a dangerous security threat as rogue newcomers pour into the Big Apple.
Criminals with ties to MS-13 and other gangs are selling fake green cards and social security cards to migrants on street corners in Queens — a dangerous security threat as rogue newcomers pour into the Big Apple.

Criminals with ties to MS-13 and other gangs are selling fake green cards and social security cards to migrants on street corners in Queens — a dangerous security threat as rogue newcomers pour into the Big Apple.

This week The Post spotted at least 10 men camped out in broad daylight at four different corners along Roosevelt Avenue in Queens, hawking the bogus documents for $80 to $250.

The forged social security numbers can be used to open up a bank account and potentially obtain a real driver’s license.

Criminals with ties to MS-13 and other gangs are selling fake green cards on street corners in Queens.
Criminals with ties to MS-13 and other gangs are selling fake green cards on street corners in Queens.
The Post spotted 10 men camped out along Roosevelt Avenue hawking fake IDs for anywhere between $80 and $250. J.C. Rice
The Post spotted 10 men camped out along Roosevelt Avenue hawking fake IDs for anywhere between $80 and $250. J.C. Rice

Permanent resident cards, also known as green cards, give immigrants the lawful right to live and work in the United States.

Many migrants buy the forgeries to land jobs where employers do not look too carefully at documentation.

But others can have much darker intentions.

Armed with such ID, a person could “load up a truck with bombs … and bring it underneath the Holland Tunnel and create something major and disastrous,” warned Bruce Foucart, a former special agent in charge of Homeland Security investigations in New England.

“For someone that wants to do terrorist activity or is a national security threat, it’s easy to establish this second life within the US,” said Foucart.

“I guarantee right now, we’re just waiting for another 9/11.”

On Wednesday, along Roosevelt between 82nd and 103rd Streets, stretching from Jackson Heights to Elmhurst and Corona, The Post observed:

A fake document seller offered to have the forged IDs ready in an hour, according to reports.
A fake document seller offered to have the forged IDs ready in an hour, according to reports.
  • Five hooded men gathered outside the La Gata Golosa bakery, whispering “social, social” to passersby and chatting up Spanish-speaking clients near a massage parlor. One offered a Post reporter pristine permanent residency and social security cards for $80. “They work,” the shady salesman assured, showing an example of the forged documents on his phone. “I need your name, your whole name, your age . . . I can take your picture.”

  • Some of the group’s members darted from the corner into an 82nd Street stairwell, below the Madelyn Salon, customers in tow. The cash handoffs and document pick-ups take place behind a glass door, according to one observer.

  • Another fake ID peddler, sitting in a chair outside of an insurance office between 102nd and 103rd Streets, offered a fake green card for $180 and a social security card for $70. He said “many” people purchase the fakes, but declined to specify how many he sold.

  • One black-market seller brought a reporter into a stairwell beneath a barber shop, where he asked the scribe to enter his name, age and country of origin into a phone. The salesmen initially asked for $200 for a green card and social security card, but the price was negotiated down to $80. The Post didn’t buy the cards.

  • Another fake document peddler was captured on video sitting on a chair on the sidewalk under the elevated train tracks, according to footage posted by the Instagram account Zombiesinnyc.

The Roosevelt Avenue sellers are affiliated with the 18th Street gang, and with the ruthless MS-13, a high-ranking police source said.

Both gangs originated in Los Angeles and are rivals known for violence and drug dealing — but also selling fake IDs.

Security experts warned migrants with criminal intentions could use fake social and green cards to carry out devastating attacks.
Security experts warned migrants with criminal intentions could use fake social and green cards to carry out devastating attacks.

“It’s big business,” the source said.

The transnational criminal organizations running the mills also may have helped smuggle in migrants, creating “a one-stop shop” for undocumented newcomers, Foucart noted.

Roosevelt Avenue has long been known to investigators as the “East Coast epicenter” for fake IDs.

The area has also been a hotbed of prostitution, with The Post recently exposing the open-air “Market of Sweethearts,” as it is known in popular YouTube videos.

Area residents and workers are outraged by the fake ID mills in their midst.

“If they’re doing social security number and nobody says s–t, next time it’ll be weapons and passports,” said Zee Omar, 24, a clerk at Candy Grocery Food Corp. on Roosevelt Avenue.

“Everyone can do what they want now.”

The influx of nearly 180,000 migrants to the city since the spring of 2022 has created a higher demand for the cards.

“People from other boroughs are coming specifically to this area to get the IDs, all the new migrants are coming here,” one local said.

Roy Fenoff, an associate professor at the Department of Criminal Justice at the Citadel, South Carolina, said the fake documents give migrants access to a slew of services otherwise impossible without government identification.

“Once people have these fake cards, they can work, they can travel, they can access a lot of aspects and services in the United States,” he said. “There are people getting these cards that are not here just to get a job, that they have other intentions, and this helps them carry out criminal activity.”

The social security cards are fake, but the numbers are real, so U.S. citizens can be affected, he said.

“If I’m using a social security number that’s of another person, and then I’m committing crimes, and I’m using [their] name, you potentially have warrants out there for innocent people’s arrest, because you don’t really know who this person was,” he said, citing a case he handled of a Denver woman whose ID was stolen.

The influx of nearly 180,000 migrants to the city since spring 2022 has created a higher demand for the cards.
The influx of nearly 180,000 migrants to the city since spring 2022 has created a higher demand for the cards.

Rogue migrants can also use the fake documents to avoid developing a criminal record under their real name, according to law enforcement experts.

“If they’ve never been fingerprinted before, under their fake name they can get arrested five, six, seven, eight times . . . and they themselves would never have a record,” said John Cutter, retired NYPD deputy chief of the Intelligence Division.

“With fake IDs, they become [a] ghost, so they become more emboldened and more willing to break the law and potentially do something that’s really serious,” he continued.

Illegal immigrant Diego Ibarra, the brother of Jose Ibarra, who is accused of killing nursing student Laken Riley at the University of Georgia, is in federal custody in a case involving alleged possession of a fake green card, which he used to get work at the school.

Diego has been linked to a brutal Venezuelan gang.

In New York, the charge for making fake ID is “criminal possession of a forged instrument” — a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.

The NYPD said it is looking into all potential lawbreaking on the strip.

“The NYPD will continue to address conditions . . . on Roosevelt Avenue,” an NYPD spokesperson said.

Area residents and workers are outraged by the fake ID mills in their midsts. J.C. Rice
Area residents and workers are outraged by the fake ID mills in their midsts. J.C. Rice

It’s impossible to say how many of these fake cards are in circulation or the value for the black market of forged documents, although Cutter estimated there are likely tens of thousands of fake green and social security cards in use in New York City

But the production and sale of the forged documents is increasing in New York City amid the spike in migrants, Fenoff noted.

“As opportunities for the fraud increase, and the demand increases, then the market always follows,” he said.