Federal authorities arrested a Glendale man Friday on a charge of counterfeiting government documents after Glendale police found thousands of fake immigration-related documents during a search of the man's home.
David Hernandez Mercado, 38, was being held without bail at the Terminal Island Federal Correctional Institution, said John Brechtel, an investigator for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Mercado was arraigned Friday in federal court but did not enter a plea, Brechtel said.
Glendale police turned Mercado over to federal officials after police investigators found more than 5,000 government documents they believed to be fake and counterfeiting equipment in his house during an unrelated police search.
Police said they had been investigating Mercado for several months because they believed that he was receiving stolen property.
The allegedly counterfeit documents seized by authorities included 3,519 blank Social Security checks, 1,485 blank immigration cards and 71 blank birth certificates, police said. Authorities also seized a printing machine, embossing stamps, ink, state and county rubber stamps, and laminating plastic, police said.
Federal officials are expected to file more counterfeiting charges against Mercado after further investigation, Brechtel said. Each count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $25,000 fine, he said.