By Jesse Marx
By Chris Parker
By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
Sibri began to suspect LaRiche of lying to the immigrants, so on February 6 she called him to ask about it. When she showed up at his office the next day, LaRiche threatened to alert immigration.
"Okay," Sibri shot back. "Do it."
Police responded that afternoon to a report at the Towers of an employee theft. LaRiche accused Sibri of stealing $160 from his business, which he told police sold "investments and stocks," according to the incident report. LaRiche claimed Sibri was an illegal immigrant with a fake ID. She showed her work permit to the police, who escorted her out of the building.
As soon as she left, Sibri went to Wilson, who told her not to communicate with LaRiche any further, and assured her that she shouldn't worry. Then Wilson called an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent he knew.
"They do not take lightly the invocation of their names to threaten and exploit people," Wilson says.
A WEEK AFTER LARICHE called the police on Sibri, he filed a lawsuit against her in Minneapolis small claims court.
The conciliation courtroom in City Hall bustled May 24 with men and women fighting over unpaid rent and broken leases. LaRiche wore a nice shirt, and sunglasses even though he was indoors.
Before the judge hears cases in conciliation court, the clerk orders the parties to step out into the hallway and share any evidence they plan to introduce with the opposing party. It was the only time Wilson ever came face to face with LaRiche.
Wilson immediately angered LaRiche by repeatedly butchering his last name. LaRiche kept correcting him, but Wilson couldn't get straight whether it was pronounced "La-Reech" or "La-Reechie."
"Are you Canadian?" Wilson asked.
"Don't worry about where I'm from," LaRiche responded, according to Wilson.
The two found plenty to argue over. LaRiche showed Wilson a binder full of dozens of documents. "I can show you all these people I'm hiring lawfully," LaRiche allegedly said, "and the people whose money I've returned because they had no papers."
Wilson didn't think the documents proved LaRiche was on the straight and narrow. He thought the records—a bunch of handwritten scrawls and photocopies of identity paperwork—were "all obvious fakes," and tried to convince LaRiche to give the binder to him to examine.
Their relations didn't become friendlier when the case was called by Judge Raymond Wood. LaRiche stood at his lectern and introduced himself, then lashed into Wilson for spreading lies. He waved his binder in the air and insisted that he was a "proper businessman."
"I'm working with ICE to make sure I'm hiring legal people," LaRiche testified.
LaRiche argued that Sibri had stolen money from his business, but didn't sway the judge, who dismissed the case. LaRiche left the courtroom disgruntled, but Wilson hung around in the hallway afterward, waiting for a couple of ICE agents he knew who had been sitting in the back of the courtroom, observing the performance.
"They just thought it was very interesting," Wilson says.
LARICHE WALKED INTO City Hall on November 14 to prosecute yet another lawsuit. He had filed a complaint in September against Wayne and Greg Freeman, the father and son heads of Executive Suites of Minnesota,over a dispute about office space that the Freemans had rented to him in the IDS Building.
LaRiche wrote in his complaint that the Freemans had cost him business and that he felt "bullied" and "harassed."
But LaRiche never got his day in court.
Soon after LaRiche entered the building, a stranger approached. It was a plainclothes officer with the Minnesota State Patrol. The cop placed LaRiche under arrest and led him to the rotunda in City Hall, near a marble sculpture of a god sitting atop a crocodile's head.
While this was going on, a young man walked up and asked, "Are you Chris LaRiche?"
"Yes," the handcuffed LaRiche answered.
"You have been served," said Michael Gavigan, an assistant for Wilson, who delivered a lawsuit on behalf of Patricia Cabrera, her husband Mario, and nephew Geronimo.
Shortly after LaRiche was taken into custody, the story took one final twist. Wilson got in touch with a state trooper involved the investigation, who delivered a bombshell.
"He's not Chris LaRiche," the cop said.
THE CRIMINAL COMPLAINT shocked everyone who had dealt with LaRiche. Hennepin County prosecutors revealed that "Chris LaRiche" was a false identity. His real name is Mario Alberto Martinez-Alanis and he is a Mexican citizen.
Prosecutors charged Martinez-Alanis with perjury for swearing under oath that his name was Chris LaRiche. He was also lying, according to the complaint, when he testified that he had been working with ICE agents.
Despite Martinez-Alanis's testimony to the contrary, he had never spoken with ICE agents about anyone's immigration status except his own.
On December 5, Martinez-Alanis bonded out of Hennepin County jail—and was immediately taken to Ramsey County jail by ICE, which had placed an immigration hold on him. He remains there, and isn't interested in talking to the press.
"Mr. Martinez has declined the interview," reports ICE spokesman Shawn Neudauer.
Hennepin County rarely prosecutes perjury, but it's making an exception in this case, says county attorney Mike Freeman.