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April 10, 2023Omaha, NE, United StatesDocument and Benefit Fraud

Guatemalan woman sentenced for using fraudulent identity documents to work following HSI Kansas City, NEDMV investigation

OMAHA, Neb. — Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Kansas City acting Special Agent in Charge Taekuk Cho and U.S. Attorney Steven A. Russell announced that Cristian Yanira Ruiz-Cardona, 28, was sentenced on April 6, 2023 in federal court in Omaha, Nebraska, for use of immigration documents not lawfully issued, false representation of a Social Security number with intent to deceive, and making a false claim to U.S. citizenship. The sentencing follows a joint HSI and Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles (NEDMV) Fraud Unit Chief investigation.

U.S. District Judge Robert F. Rossiter Jr. sentenced Ruiz to 3 years of probation, including a condition of home detention for 180 days. Ruiz may later face removal from the United States to Guatemala.

In March 2022, HSI received information from the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles (NEDMV) Fraud Unit regarding an identity theft case under investigation by the Dixon County Sheriff’s Office. A suspect in that case used fraudulent identity documents in the name of “C.M.” to work at Michael’s Foods in Wakefield. The suspect told the deputy that she had used a Social Security card and identification card — the fraudulent C.M. identity documents — obtained from Ruiz, and that Ruiz required that the suspect to return them to her.

HSI learned that the U.S. Border Patrol had arrested Ruiz in 2009. She was placed in removal proceedings at that time and released. In 2020, HSI received information that the defendant was selling identity documents in Wakefield. She was arrested again but was released due to lack of jail space. At the time, she was not prosecuted for selling identity documents, but it was determined that she was working for Michael’s Foods in Wakefield under another identity, “A.C.”

At the time she was arrested in this case, Ruiz was working at Williams Form Engineering in Wayne under the identity of C.M., the same identity she provided to the suspect in the Dixon County case for use at Michael’s Foods. Ruiz used counterfeit identity documents in C.M.’s name, including a Kansas identification card and a Social Security card bearing C.M.’s Social Security number, as proof of identity to obtain employment. Ruiz also attested that she was a U.S. citizen during the hiring process.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

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