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Document and Benefit Fraud

19 East Texas-area residents plead guilty to misusing Social Security Numbers

TYLER, Texas - Nineteen individuals from the Mt. Pleasant, Texas, area pleaded guilty Thursday to misusing Social Security Account numbers. U.S. Attorney Rebecca A. Gregory, Eastern District of Texas, announced these pleas; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted the investigation.

Each entered his guilty plea July 10 before U.S. District Judge David Folsom. They included: Ana Alvarez, Juan Mata; Juana Banda, Juana Canao-Urdaz, Juan Canada, Miguel Cordova, Pedro Pulquero-Perez, Bernardo Nava-Gomez, Balbina Barajas, Rafael Fernando, Maria Antonia Romero; Sara Garcia; Joaquin Hipolito; Leonardo Paloblanco; Jose Cruz; Omar Robles; Rafael Gomez, Carmela Vargas and Rosauro Moran-Rodriguez.

According to information presented in court, each of the individuals presented a Social Security Account card to Pilgrim's Pride Corp. to obtain or maintain employment. In each case, the individual knew that the number presented was not the Social Security Account number assigned to that individual.

Each defendant was also sentenced to time already served; then they were released to ICE custody.

Misusing Social Security account numbers is a felony that carries a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

In addition to the Social Security number-related guilty pleas, Cecilia Perez-Lazaro pleaded guilty to a one-count information alleging entry into the United States without inspection. She was sentenced to time already served, and then released to ICE custody.

In a related case, German Yepez-Guzman was sentenced to time already served on a charge of conspiracy to commit fraud in connection with identification documents. Evidence introduced at Yepez-Guzman's plea indicated that he was involved with others selling false identification documents to be illegally used by aliens in the state to assist in gaining employment, including such documents as Social Security Account cards and birth certificates.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan R. Jackson, Eastern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.