(Newsroom America) -- A former Brownsville man, now living in Waco, has been ordered to federal prison following his convictions of selling membership in a non-recognized Indian tribe.
Humberto Reveles, 61, pleaded guilty in March 2015.
Today, U.S. District Judge U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen handed Reveles a 33-month sentence to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release.
He was further ordered to pay restitution of $198,795 to 144 victims of the scheme. In handing down the sentence, Judge Hanen noted that this scheme was just as bad as coyotes smuggling people past the checkpoint. He also noted that this crime was victimizing the individuals who could least afford it (undocumented aliens).
At the time of his plea, Reveles admitted to selling membership in the Yamassee tribe as part of a scheme to defraud. Reveles was the chief, and later grand chief, of the tribe.
He claimed the tribal identification documents that came with membership would allow tribe members to remain in the United States, prevent them from being deported, allow them to travel within and work in the country, despite not having immigration status.
Reveles opened an office where he would meet with prospective tribe members in addition to holding informational meetings. Prospective tribe members would pay Reveles or his employees and were to receive tribal naturalization certificates, tribal identification cards and tribal drivers’ licenses. The documents were to be presented in support of the false immigration claims underlying the scheme.
The Yamassee tribe not a federally-recognized Indian tribe nor recognized by the U.S. Department of State.
Previously released on bond, Reveles was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender in December 2016.