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12/09/2011

COLDWATER RESIDENTS ARRESTED IN IDENTITY THEFT SCHEME

COLDWATER RESIDENTS ARRESTED IN

IDENTITY THEFT SCHEME

 

OXFORD, Miss. – Felicia C. Adams, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi, together with George M. Nutwell III, Special Agent in Charge of the Houston Field Office of the United States Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, and Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of  the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations in New Orleans, announce the arrest of Gloria Araceli Cortes, using the false identity of Anna Maria Rodriguez, and Manuel Humberto Villa Alvidres, using the false identity of Jesus Olivas, Jr., today in Coldwater, Mississippi, pursuant to an indictment returned November 15, 2011, by a federal grand jury.

Cortes, 36, a Mexican citizen and Alvidres, 44, a Lawful Permanent Resident, are accused of knowingly and willfully using the identification of other individuals to obtain credit cards, bank loans, and bank accounts. Cortes is accused of using another’s identity in applying for and obtaining a United States passport. They appeared before United States Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander in Oxford, Mississippi, today.

 “The U.S. passport and visa are two of the most coveted travel documents in the world. There are American citizens and foreign nationals who fraudulently acquire passports and visas to engage in identity theft and other criminal activities. This case demonstrates Diplomatic Security’s commitment to working with our law enforcement partners to investigate these crimes and help bring these criminals to justice,” said George Nutwell, Special Agent in Charge of the Houston Field Office of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service.

The fourteen-count indictment alleges that Cortes and Alvidres, as a part of their scheme, obtained bank loans in excess of $127,000 and obtained and made purchases on credit cards, all using the identification of individuals other than themselves.  The indictment also alleges that Cortes, using another identity, made a false statement in an application for a passport.

If convicted on all counts, Cortes faces up to 229 years in prison and up to $8.5 million in fines. Alvidres faces up to 152 years in prison and up to $5 million in fines.  They each could be ordered to pay restitution to the victims of their crimes, as well as required to forfeit any proceeds from the crimes.

 "This case highlights Homeland Security Investigation’s (HSI) commitment to working with other law enforcement partners to protect both the integrity of our immigration system and our national security," said Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of HSI in New Orleans. "Document and benefit fraud pose serious threats to national security and public safety. These schemes create a vulnerability that may enable terrorists, criminals and illegal aliens to gain entry to and remain in the United States. We will continue working with our law enforcement partners to ensure that these criminals are brought to justice," Parmer added. The charges against Cortes and Alvidres are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

This case was investigated by Special Agents from the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service’s Houston and Miami Field Offices and the Dallas Resident Office; the U. S. Department of Homeland Security Homeland Security Investigations, the United States Marshals, the Drug Enforcement Administration Desoto County Task Force, the Tate County Sheriff’s Office, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Clyde McGee IV.

 
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