Cleaning crew at state buildings arrested in ID theft raid

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- Nine janitorial workers suspected of using fictitious documents to get jobs and their manager were arrested in a raid of state office buildings in Phoenix.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio says the raid that resulted in the arrests of the Upright Commercial Cleaning employees was carried out Thursday night at Arizona Department of Transportation offices at the state capitol complex.

The sheriff's Criminal Employment Squad began investigating the cleaning company after ADOT employees reported possible fraud. One of the janitorial workers reportedly attempted to change his name on his ADOT building access card.

Arpaio said the nine workers are immigrants who aren't in the country legally and the manager is a U.S. citizen suspected of knowing that employees were using fake documents.

The sheriff's office said the manager will be charged with trafficking in identity theft, a class two felony. The employees were arrested on forgery charges.

They were all booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail.

According to the sheriff's office, the owners of Upright Commercial Cleaning were cooperative during the investigation and likely had no knowledge of the alleged criminal activity.

A message left at the business by the Associated Press wasn't immediately returned Friday.

The sheriff's office said a search warrant served at the business Friday revealed further documentation of potential identity theft and forgery.

The investigation is ongoing.

The bust marks the 83rd business raid by Arpaio's office since 2008. More than 780 people have been arrested on suspicion of forgery and identity theft.

Critics say the raids have done little to hold employers accountable.

Supporters say the raids have helped combat identity theft.

"Forgery and the use of fake identifications is a serious crime which creates serious security issues, especially when a government establishment is infiltrated by people with fraudulent identifications," Arpaio said in a statement.