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Document and Benefit Fraud

Brazilian fugitive found in South Florida pleads guilty to immigration fraud and weapon charges

FORT PIERCE, Fla. - On June 28, a Port St. Lucie, Fla., man pleaded guilty to immigration fraud and weapon charges following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the FBI.

Geraldo Ricardo Miranda, 43, pleaded guilty to being an illegal alien in possession of a gun and making a false statement on a U.S. passport application. He faces a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison on each count of the charges.

According to the criminal complaint affidavit filed on April 2, ICE special agents received information from Interpol that a Brazilian fugitive named Geraldo Ricardo Miranda was wanted for a homicide in Brazil and was living in Port St. Lucie. Subsequent investigation revealed that Miranda applied for and received a Florida driver's license in 2004 while in Boca Raton, Fla., by supplying fraudulent documents, including a Commonwealth of Puerto Rico birth certificate, social security card, and a U.S. military DD-214 with a Brazilian driver's license.

According to court records, Miranda applied for a U.S. passport in Fort Pierce on May 27, 2009, presenting a fraudulent birth certificate from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a fraudulently obtained social security number, and a fraudulently obtained Florida driver's license. The passport was refused and never issued.

According to statements made on June 15, during a suppression hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank J. Lynch, ICE and FBI special agents arrested Miranda on April 1, as he was leaving his Port St. Lucie home. During the arrest, in reply to questions asked for officer safety, Miranda admitted to federal agents that he possessed a gun hidden in his bedroom. ICE and FBI special agents entered the home and recovered a .40 caliber Glock and thirty-two .40 caliber Winchester cartridges from Miranda's upstairs bedroom. After his arrest, Miranda admitted to agents that his Puerto Rican birth certificate was false. Using fingerprints received from Brazilian authorities, federal agents confirmed that Miranda was born in Brazil, had no permission to be in the United States and therefore, was an illegal alien who cannot legally possess a gun. Miranda later admitted to ICE agents that he initially entered the United States as a B-2 visitor for pleasure in 1989, and after returning to Brazil, re-entered the United States without documentation or inspection approximately eight years ago.

The investigation was conducted by ICE's Office of Homeland Security Investigations in Fort Pierce and the FBI with the assistance of the Florida Highway Patrol, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Air and Marine Interdiction Units in Fort Pierce.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmen Lineberger.