Fake Social Security cards – $150. Business sense – Priceless

March 10, 2008


A fake ID card 



The recent indictment of a Bowling Green man who faces federal prison and deportation for making fake Social Security cards and IDs, offers a quick lesson in supply and demand. 


According to U.S. Western District Attorney David Huber, 24-year old Rosendo Mendoza-Rodriguez, also known as Rogelio Villalon, of 1130 Roselawn Way produced was sentenced in u.s. district court on March 5 for selling and making the fake cards. 


What is interesting is that he was able to sell them for $150 a set — anything sold for that much garners importance and shows desperation. 


Armed with a make-shift trailer that had a laminating machine, printer, and other items, Rodriguez and conspirator Olegario Gregorio took pictures for the IDs at a house on Durbin Street and then drove to a trailer on Russellville Road to make and sell the fake cards — I bet you never thought such transactions could take place in Bowling Green. But open your eyes — the delicate immigration issues America faces is reflected throughout the Bowling Green community in unlikely places. 


The lengths that some will go to in order to pose as an American citizen speak to the struggles of more than 11 million illegal immigrants estimated by the Pew Hispanic Center and the U.S. Census Bureau to live in the U.S. 


But who needs documents when you have ITINS? Known as an Individual Tax Identification Number, or ITIN, the number is issued by the Internal Revenue Service for certain resident and non-resident immigrants, their spouses and their dependents who are not eligible to obtain a Social Security card, according to the IRS. 


Illegal immigrants are already taking part of nearly every aspect of the American economy, paying rent and utilities, using cell phones, buying cars, meals, clothes and haircuts, sending mail and money transfers, paying local attorneys for immigration work and divorces, and eating at local restaurants – all of which add to the goods and services consumed. With ITINS, they are buying houses and obtaining life insurance. 


No matter where you stand on the issue, Rosendo Mendoza-Rodriguez’s business sense highlights a complicated issue in America when it comes to undocumented workers and illegal immigrants.


Rodriguez will serve a year and three months in federal prison. Rodriguez was indicted on similar charges in eastern Kentucky after being arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigations last March. Gregorio also pled guilty to similar charges and was sentenced last year to a year and three months in federal prison. 


Behind the AG/Chamber Story

January 16, 2008


When someone says, “This is not a story,” 95 percent of the time, it really is.


It’s appropriate to mention the randomness of the news cycle since writing about the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce’s committee restructuring 


I was at my desk one morning and someone called me to tell me the agribusiness committee was being taken off the table and that person explained why that wasn’t a good thing – and so my search for what was going on began. 


I talked to my editor to let him know I was walking down to the chamber – and low and behold when I arrived, people got nervous. Some wanted to talk and be all-smiles – others quickly walked by me to avoid having to discuss. Sounded like a story to me. 


It’s at these times that I hit the pavement a little bit harder to find out what is really going on. I don’t take sides but try to see what’s happening from both points of view. 


But when there are closed meetings – people will continue to question and ask even more what the intentions of any entity are- whether it is the chamber, city or county government. 


I have to talk to the chamber almost every day – obviously they’re one of my go-to sources, but when folks in the farm community called me to express disappointment, anger, and a few unmentionables – I listen – that’s my job, and they, too, are a trusted source. 


With that said, as the discussion continues about the chamber’s role in promoting and recognizing agriculture in Warren County and southcentral Kentucky as a whole, here’s a few Warren County agriculture statistics to think about:


—The 2002 Census shows the number of farms has decreased 8 percent from 1997, dropping from 2,048 to 1,881 farms. Despite the decrease, more cropland – about seven percent – has been harvested in that time. 


—Warren County ranks 12th in the state of Kentucky for its cash receipts for crops and livestock, which total almost $75 million, according to the Kentucky Agricultural Statistics and Annual Report for 2006-2007. 


—Warren County places 2nd in the state for its number of cattle and calves (69,800), and beef cows (34,500) as of Jan. 1, 2007, 6th for 2006 milk production (54,500), 4th for its barley for grain crop production (98,000 bushels), 3rd for its “all other hay” crop production (139,200 tons), and 5th for its wheat for grain crop production (almost 1.1 million bushels). 


Not to mention nearby Barren County’s state dominance for its livestock and dairy industry — the ag communities in Logan, Simpson, Todd and Hart are also worth mentioning. 


The Chambers of Commerce in both Louisville and Owensboro have agriculture-related committees, though they’re bigger cities and have more development that Bowling Green for now — but the whole situation with the chamber is wait-and-see. Ultimately, actions speak louder than words. 


One thing is for sure – I will be listening to readers and those in the community who have something to say about it all.