TOPEKA, KAN. – A Mexican citizen who has been living in Emporia, Kan., has been indicted on charges of document fraud, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.
Olegaria Cruz-Juarez, 39, a citizen of Mexico, is charged with one count of unlawful possession of false identification documents and one count of aggravated identity theft.
She and her husband, Sergio Tapia-Martinez, have been under investigation as suspected distributors of identification documents to unauthorized workers in central Kansas, Grissom said. Tapia-Martinez was charged in a separate case with unlawfully re-entering the United States after being convicted of an aggravated felony and deported.
A criminal complaint filed in the case against Cruz-Juarez alleges that Kansas Department of Revenue agents arrested her for driver’s license fraud during a criminal investigation that revealed she had renewed her Kansas driver’s license claiming to be lawfully present in the United States when she was not. They served a search warrant at her home in Emporia, where they found another person’s Social Security card between the pages of a Bible in her bedroom. They also found a small notebook containing the names, dates of birth and Social Security number for 13 different identities. Agents ran the numbers against records maintained by the Social Security Administration and the Kansas Department of Revenue. Eight of the identities were used in the state of Kansas to obtain a driver’s license or identification card.
An affidavit filed in the case states that agents developed evidence that Cruz had previously purchased documents belonging to another person in order to obtain an identification card and secure employment. She needed to purchase documents that employers would accept. Agents also developed evidence that she had helped relatives and others do the same thing in the past. Immigration records indicate that Cruz is a Mexican national who was denied permanent resident status in Sept. 30, 2004, and is in the United States unlawfully.
If convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on the document charge, and a mandatory two years to run consecutively to the underlying sentence and a fine up to $250,000 on the aggravated identity theft count. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Kansas Department of Revenue – Office of Special Investigations, the Emporia Police Department, the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, the Social Security Administration – OIG and the Lyon County Attorney’s Office investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson is prosecuting.