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Document and Benefit Fraud

Arizona man stripped of citizenship for committing naturalization fraud

PHOENIX — A Phoenix man was sentenced Monday to 10 months in federal prison and stripped of his U.S. citizenship for committing naturalization fraud, following a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

Gustavo Ramirez-Ramirez, 45, pleaded guilty Nov. 27 in U.S. District Court to unlawful procurement of U.S. citizenship and admitted to submitting false information to obtain a U.S. passport.

Senior U.S. District Judge Roslyn O. Silver sentenced Ramirez-Ramirez to 10 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. She also revoked his citizenship, canceled his certificate of naturalization and ordered him removed to his native Mexico.

"This man attempted to cheat the immigration system and ultimately cheated himself," said Matt Allen, special agent in charge of HSI Arizona. "The oath of citizenship represents a sacred trust between the United States and the new citizen. The outcome of this case clearly demonstrates that the United States will not tolerate fraudulent breaches of that trust."

According to court documents, Ramirez-Ramirez admitted that he entered the U.S. illegally and used the identity of another man to obtain a lawful permanent resident card and other identification documents, which he used to apply for naturalization under false pretenses. He admitted to lying under oath during his naturalization process, including at his naturalization ceremony held in federal court in March 2007. In April 2010, Ramirez-Ramirez used the stolen identity to fraudulently obtain a U.S. passport, which he used to travel between the U.S. and Mexico.

HSI was assisted in the investigation by ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Phoenix and the ICE Office of Chief Counsel (OCC) Phoenix.