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Document and Benefit Fraud

Mexican national indicted for document fraud, identity theft

WICHITA, Kan. — A Mexican national, posing as his U.S. citizen cousin, was indicted Wednesday and had his $70,000 pickup truck seized as part of an investigation into document fraud and identity theft. The charges and seizure resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Kansas Department of Revenue.

Mario Alberto Esparza-Rodriguez, 39, is a Mexican national residing in Overland Park, Kan. Esparza-Rodriguez has no lawful status in the United States. He was indicted Dec. 14 by a federal grand jury in Topeka, Kan., on multiple document fraud and identity theft counts, including fraudulently obtaining a U. S. passport.

According to court records, Esparza-Rodriguez is employed by Century Roofing, which operates in the Kansas City area. The indictment alleges that Esparza used the identity of a cousin who was born in New Mexico to obtain identification documents, including a Social Security card and multiple Kansas driver's licenses, including a commercial license. It also alleges aggravated identity theft in obtaining the identity documents.

The indictment also alleges wire fraud and identity theft in the purchase of a 2010 Dodge Ram 3500 pickup truck purchased for $71,328. There are no liens against the truck, according to indictment, which the defendant allegedly purchased using his cousin's identity. It also was licensed and registered in Kansas in the cousin's name.

Esparza-Rodriguez was indicted for misusing government documents including a U.S. passport, fraudulently producing identity documents, and six counts of aggravated identity theft. The document fraud counts carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, the wire fraud count 20 years, and each count of aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two years in federal prison. There is no parole from a federal prison sentence. The indictment also seeks criminal forfeiture of the $70,000 pickup truck.

The public is reminded that a person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.