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Illegal alien from Guatemala sentenced to federal prison in Iowa for document fraud

21 Mar

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — A Guatemalan man, illegally residing in eastern Iowa, was sentenced in federal court Monday for presenting fraudulent documents to obtain work less than a week after he was arrested for illegally entering the United States.

This sentence resulted from an arrest made by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).

Jose Lopez-Morales, 36, a citizen of Guatemala illegally residing in Independence, Iowa, was sentenced to two months in federal prison following his guilty plea on Jan. 25, 2018, to one count of unlawfully using identification documents.

By pleading guilty, Lopez-Morales admitted that on Nov. 2, 2017, he used a fraudulent U.S. permanent resident card, bearing a fake name, when he completed employment forms to obtain a job in Fairbank, Iowa.  The social security account number used by Lopez-Morales on the employment forms belonged to a U.S. citizen and the U.S. permanent resident number on the card was not assigned to him.

On Oct. 24, 2017, U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested Lopez-Morales and his minor child in Arizona after they illegally entered the United States.  On Oct. 25, 2017, Lopez-Morales was released pending immigration court proceedings.  On Dec. 5, 2017, Lopez-Morales reported to the immigration office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and initially denied being illegally employed in the United States before admitting he worked under a false name in nearby Fairbank, Iowa.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel C. Tvedt, Northern District of Iowa.