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Document and Benefit Fraud

Illegal alien sentenced to 34 months in federal prison for theft of son's identity

True identity discovered when his employer submitted proposal for construction work on a Department of Homeland Security facility in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. - Etzio William Cummings, 39, an illegal alien, was sentenced to 34 months in federal prison Wednesday for false representation of a social security number and aggravated identity theft. Cummings will be subject to deportation upon the completion of his sentence.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations, the Florida Highway Patrol, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Social Security Administration.

According to court documents, Cummings, a citizen of Panama, was in the United States illegally, and fathered a son in 1999. It was Cummings' idea to name his son the exact name identical to his own.

In March 2000, shortly after his son was assigned a U.S. social security card, Cummings began using his son's social security number indiscriminately. Using his son's social security number, Cummings obtained numerous Florida Identification Cards and Florida Driver's Licenses; worked in the United States illegally; obtained credit; and avoided detection from federal and state authorities for more than a decade.

Cummings' true identity came to light in the summer of 2009 when his employer submitted a proposal to perform construction work on an office building for the Department of Homeland Security in Orlando, Florida. As such, background checks and other verifications were conducted on any and all potential employees and contractors, including Cummings. As part of the proposal process, Cummings submitted a packet of information that falsely misrepresented his son's social security number as his own. A computerized records search of the social security number confirmed that the number was not assigned to Cummings and was actually assigned to his minor son.

Federal authorities later determined that Cummings had stolen his son's identity and had been misusing his son's social security number for more than a decade. At sentencing, the Court ordered that a new social security number be issued for the son, because the social security number had been so irreparably compromised.

"This sentence is a stern reminder about the consequences awaiting those who conspire to compromise the integrity of our nation's legal immigration system. This man not only repeatedly used his son's identity to obtain work, a driver's license and even a home loan, but he had the audacity to use it in applying for a job at a Department of Homeland Security building," said Susan McCormick, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Tampa. "Identity theft is a growing problem that directly threatens national security and undermines the integrity of our national immigration system. That is why ICE will continue to investigate these cases and bring them forward for federal prosecution so that individuals who commit these crimes feel the full weight of the law."

This case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie E. Gorman and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tanya Davis Wilson.