18 arrests of workers reportedly using false identities

18 arrests of workers reportedly using false identities

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas:

Eighteen individuals have been arrested on federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas, U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced in a news release on April 13.

According to the news release, on April 7 through April 8, a combined task force of federal, state and local law enforcement arrested 18 illegal aliens working under false identities at various refineries, industrial plants and shipyards in Jefferson, Galveston and Liberty counties.

A federal grand jury returned 18 indictments on Apr. 2, charging each individual with either illegal reentry after deportation, identity theft, and or making false claims of United States citizenship in order to obtain jobs at numerous refineries, industrial plants and shipyards over the past six years. The defendants, who are in the United States illegally, were all allegedly working under assumed names obtained through the possession of fraudulently obtained legitimate social security numbers and matching birth certificates, primarily issued in Puerto Rico. With such primary identifying information the defendants obtained State issued identification cards from Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, and other states. The use of such documents allowed the illegal aliens to pass the E-verify systems used by their employers to ascertain U.S. citizenship or alien lawful work permits. The documents allowed some individuals to obtain Transportation Worker Identification Credentials allowing access to ports and other sensitive work sites. HSI knew the actual identities of several of the aliens because they had been previously deported.  One alien was previously deported after a felony drug conviction. Fifteen other aliens were identified after being arrested under their assumed names.

If convicted of the charges, defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison and deportation.

These cases are being investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) offices in Beaumont, Houston, and Galveston, as well as the U.S. Marshals Service, Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, Coast Guard Investigative Service, Beaumont Police Department, and Port Arthur Police Department. These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert L. Rawls.

An indictment is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.