Snagging the ‘document benders’ |

Snagging the ‘document benders’

summit daily news
Summit Daily/Drew Andersen

BRECKENRIDGE – Turnout was better than expected Wednesday for a workshop on fraudulent document detection at Colorado Mountain College’s Breckenridge campus.

Nearly 40 people showed up from various employers in Summit County, including Vail Resorts, City Market, Marriott Mountain Valley Lodge and the Breckenridge Police Department, packing the classroom.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents Steve Turza and Chris Carter of the Homeland Security Investigations office in Glenwood Springs educated those in attendance on how to recognize fraudulent documents often produced by illegal aliens attempting to secure employment.

Turza said there are about 100 “document benders” – those who forge fraudulent documents – in his jurisdiction, which ranges from the Utah border to the eastern edge of Summit County.

“If we take one of them down, two more will pop up in their place,” Turza said.

So instead of focusing all of their efforts on stopping the production of fraudulent documents, the agents instead hope educating employers on the subject will lead to fewer job opportunities for illegal aliens and less incentive for them to cross the border to the United States unlawfully.

The agents led the audience through a detailed presentation on how to spot fraudulent documents, highlighting features that are often difficult for document benders to recreate, such as holograms, fine lines and even the alignment of text on the card. Attendees then examined fake documents and attempted to point out discrepancies.

Katy Boothby, human resources manager for Marriott’s Mountain Valley Lodge in Breckenridge, said she had been to a fraudulent document workshop before, but that this workshop was “much more in-depth.”

Turza said simple, affordable tools such as ultraviolet lights, flashlights and magnifying glasses combined with simple training can go a long way toward preventing those unauthorized to work in the United States from doing so.

“We should have had these (workshops) 20 to 30 years ago, and now we’re doing the best we can to catch up,” Turza said.

Turza and Carter were asked to deliver their presentation by the Colorado Workforce Center’s Frisco office, and the duo travel throughout their jurisdiction putting on the workshop whenever asked.

For more information, visit the Immigration and Customs Enforcement website at

SDN reporter Drew Andersen can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or

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