Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sale Of Worthless ID’s And Advertising Continues

Credenciales U.S.A. and el Semanario de Milwaukee advertising sale of ID’s

By H. Nelson Goodson
El Conquistador Newspaper
3206 W. National Ave.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53215
December 10, 2008

Milwaukee- Immigrants living in the predominately south side Latino neighborhood are being targeted through advertisement by both Credenciales U.S.A. and el Semanario de Milwaukee with the sale of worthless identification cards geared to undocumented immigrants. Despite previous warnings of the worthless ID scam by a coalition of organizations and businesses, immigrants are being told through advertisement the ID’s are legal and follow state laws. In fact, the information provided by Credenciales U.S.A. and an ad published in last weeks Semanario de Milwaukee is incorrect and misleading, according to Milwaukee County and state officials.
The Semanario de Milwaukee publication now located in the River Bank Plaza claims it has been following a tradition of publishing for fifteen years, but it recently changed its name from el Diario de Milwaukee to el Semanario and has published on and off for more than a year. Last Summer, the current editor and manager of el Semanario, Celio C. Palacio R. became aware of the unscrupulous methods and tactics of advertising being used by Credenciales U.S.A. and its manager Hugo Loyo Cobos, of 3031 W. Lincoln Ave. to lure unsuspecting victims.
Palacio R. could not be reached for comment, but in a previous telephone interview said, Loyo through a contract had paid him for the advertising. “Loyo has not been charged for any criminal act as of yet,” Palacio R. emphasized.
Loyo could not be reached for comment. However, Loyo in a previous statement said, the ID’s sold by Credenciales U.S.A. are officially recognized by his company and Banco Amex International LLC, which is operated in the same building. Loyo is the Chairman of Banco Amex International, and Mike Contreras is the President, according to business records. Both the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) state, Banco Amex International is not legally registered or authorized to operate as a bank.
Immigrants who did not want to be identified have said, Loyo and Palacio R. do a disservice to the entire community by trying to scam Latinos into buying worthless ID’s.
Credenciales U.S.A. and Loyo (member of the Institute for Mexicans Abroad 2006-2008) are currently under investigation for selling worthless identification cards and international driving permits, according to Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm. Last July, Chisholm assigned Assistant District Attorney Paul Hauer who works out of the Second Police District to head the Credenciales U.S.A. probe. Hauer requested the assistance of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to help investigate Loyo and Credenciales U.S.A. for using the Wisconsin State seal on his ID’s. Hauer when contacted on Wednesday said, “the investigation is ongoing” and an official from the state DATCP said, “the investigation is ongoing and could not comment.”
Loyo’s alleged scam investigation resulted from various complaints from immigrants who bought and later became aware they were buying worthless identification cards and international driving permits. Last Summer, Ed Flynn, the Milwaukee Police Chief confirmed that Credenciales U.S.A. ID’s and their international driving permits are not valid. Persons who are stopped for traffic violations could be arrested when using this type of ID’s and driving permits, says Flynn.
Ironically, el Semanario de Milwaukee published in its latest edition a brief article concerning Enrique Figueroa a Board member of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection who received the 2008 Medallion of Excellence for a Distinguished Alumnus award in September by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. Figueroa was also recognized and selected as a member of the Consulting Group from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to the Institute of Mexicans Abroad (Consejo Consultivo del Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior (CCIME) 2009-2011) in November in which Loyo is an active member, according to the Chicago Mexican Consulate. Figueroa has become aware of Loyo’s deception and el Semanario’s publication of Credenciales U.S.A. advertising concerning the worthless ID’s.
Credenciales U.S.A. was exposed by a coalition of south side Milwaukee organizations, including Voces de la Frontera, Southside Organizing Committee, Mitchell Bank, US Bank, Lincoln State Bank, Landmark Credit Union, and El Conquistador newspaper. Lincoln State Bank was recently bought by Harris Bank.
In July, State Representative Pedro Colón requested an investigation by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office and the State Attorney General’s office into allegations of selling worthless ID’s and international driving permits by Loyo and Credenciales U.S.A.
Another publication from Madison, Wisconsin called “Mi Revista Latina,” which claims to be monthly edition Number 16, is also advertising the sale of AmeraCard ID’s at a local Milwaukee business called MG Oficina Multi-Services Income Tax, 1010 S. Cesar Chavez Dr. and two other locations in Madison and Waukegan, Illinois that are also classified as worthless ID’s to consumers by state officials. MG Oficina AmeraCard ID’s sale representatives could not be reached for comment.

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