Pair accused of selling fake tribal memberships

A man and woman in California pleaded not guilty on Thursday to theft and fraud charges after authorities said they were selling fake tribal memberships to immigrants.

Victor Granadaos, 57, and Kim Thomas Johnson, 47, allegedly told immigrants they could use tribal citizenship documents to cross the border freely. They sold memberships in the Pembina Nation Little Shell Band of North America for $1,500, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said.

The Pembina Nation is not a legitimate tribe and has been linked to other scams throughout the country.

In a similar case, federal authorities charged a Kansas group called the Kaweah Indian Nation with selling fake memberships to immigrants.

Get the Story:
2 plead not guilty in citizenship scheme (The San Diego Union-Tribune 11/2)
Pair Accused Of Selling Fake Tribal Memberships (NBC San Diego 11/1)
Immigration Fraud (Fox 6 News 11/1)
Press Release: Two charged in ICE probe for selling fake tribal documents to illegal aliens (ICE 11/1)

$rl Immigration and Customs Enforcement -

Related Stories:
Leader of fake tribe remains locked up on charges (9/18)
Leader of fake tribe arrested in immigration scam (9/7)
Kaweah Nation denies scamming immigrants (8/29)
NIHB Chair: Tribal membership not for sale (8/24)
Texas sues fake tribe for selling 'membership' (8/22)
Opinion: Immigrants fall for citizenship scams (8/21)
Unrecognized tribe cites 10K immigrant recruitments (8/15)
Arrests linked to tribe selling 'membership' (8/14)
Fake tribe offers membership to Mexican nationals (8/10)