An illegal alien from Guatemala who conned the feds out of almost $20,000 in welfare benefits has been sentenced to two months in federal prison after pleading guilty to one count of theft of U.S. government funds.
Welfare fraud is common in the illegal alien community and in the Obama era the government refused to do much about it.
Cleotilde Puac-Gomez, 46, an illegal resident of Clarion, Iowa, was sentenced to two months in federal prison after pleading guilty Feb. 6, 2019, to one count of theft of U.S. government funds, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced May 31. In addition to doing prison time, she was ordered to pay restitution to the state of Iowa and complete a period of three years of supervised release after she completes her prison term.
Puac-Gomez admitted in a plea agreement that she failed to report her husband’s income when applying for and taking in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid benefits between June 2012 and November 2017. At the material time, her husband Melvin Rodriguez-Barrios, 44, also an illegal alien, was employed under an alias and using someone else’s social security number. By failing to accurately report the family’s income, Puac-Gomez received an $19,908.30 overpayment of food stamps and other U.S. welfare benefits distributed by the state of Iowa.
Puac-Gomez’s husband was no stranger to law enforcement. On March 27 he was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment after he was convicted of three counts of unlawfully using an identification document and four counts of misusing a social security number.
The couple may not even end up getting deported after completing their time in prison.
“This release is only noting the criminal conviction and sentence. Immigration proceedings are separate from, and take place in a different venue than U.S. District Court,” ICE public affairs officer Shawn Neudauer told The Epoch Times.
The Epoch Times also reported that in Tucson, Arizona, in March, Ruben Valenzuela-Cota, 83, a Mexican national illegally living in the U.S., was sentenced for several offenses, including identity theft, lying on a passport application, falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen, and fraudulently taking in more than $242,000 in Social Security retirement benefits. The man even managed to collect U.S. Social Security payments while living in Mexico.
Another illegal alien from Guatemala, Sebastian Velasquez-Ramos, 47, was sentenced this week to more than two years in federal prison for identity theft and falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen.
Velasquez-Ramos was already in prison at the time of sentencing. He was previously convicted of leaving the scene of a fatal multi-vehicle crash after running over a motorcyclist in April 2018 while residing in Omaha, Nebraska.
Social Security number fraud grew to monumental proportions while Barack Hussein Obama was president, according to the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI).
An IRLI study last year found that as many as 39 million Americans may have had their Social Security numbers misappropriated by illegal aliens pursuing work in the United States during the Obama administration.
IRLI filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Social Security Administration, requesting records related to its Obama-era decision to stop sending “no-match” letters to employers. Sending the letters helped to prevent fraud through unauthorized use of stolen Social Security number data by illegal aliens and other criminals. A “no-match” letter let employers and employees know that the name or Social Security number reported by the employer did not match a name or Social Security number combination reflected in official records.
According to IRLI:
The FOIA records produced by SSA as a result of IRLI’s lawsuit have shown that, from 2012 to 2016, there were 39 million instances where names and Social Security numbers on W-2 tax forms did not match the corresponding Social Security records. Additionally, over $409 billion was added to the Earnings Suspense File (ESF), which holds uncredited wages that can’t be correctly matched to SSA’s database. From 1937 to 2005, $519 billion was reported to be sitting in the ESF. In tax year 2016, that number rose to over $1.5 trillion.
Because the Obama administration was indifferent to the presence of illegal aliens in the country it opted eight days after it implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) amnesty for illegal aliens to end the long-running auditing practice.
The termination of the no-match letter program “resulted in a thriving black market where illegal aliens can obtain the Social Security numbers of U.S. citizens in order to gain employment,” according to IRLI.
“The Social Security numbers of young children are especially sought by illegal aliens, as this theft is likely to go undetected for years. As children reach late teenage years and apply for credit for cars, student loans, and other needs, they may find that their credit has been compromised with mortgages, credit cards and criminal records attached to their identities.”
“This investigation shines a light on the depth of America’s problems as a result of allowing illegal aliens into the country,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “It also debunks the idea that being in the country illegally is a victimless crime. Millions of Americans, in many cases children, are having their identities stolen to enable even more criminal activity. Illegal aliens should not reap Social Security benefits that result from the commission of identity theft.”
The Trump administration announced a year ago that it was resuming the practice of sending notice letters to employers and third-party providers informing them of mismatches.
Whether the new policy will put a dent in crimes committed by illegal aliens remains to be seen.