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Mexican National Gets Hit With Federal Prison Time For Stealing $350,000 From US Government

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by Nick Givas

Mexican national Andres Avelino Anduaga was convicted of posing as an American citizen and stealing over $350,000 while defrauding the U.S. government for over 30 years.

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Anduaga was sentenced to 37 months in prison by a San Diego federal judge Friday and ordered to repay $360,908.85 to the Social Security Administration and the California Department of Health Care Services — as well as the county of San Diego, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.

Anduaga used a false birth certificate in 1980 to secure a Social Security card and a California driver’s license, the DOJ reported. He then used those false documents to defraud the system over the next 22 years.

Anduaga admitted to using the false paperwork to receive almost $250,000 in Social Security payments, according to prosecutors. He also received $100,000 in medical benefits he was not eligible for, said the U.S. Attorney’s office.

U.S. District Judge John Houston also sentenced Anduaga for being in the United States illegally after he admitted he’d already been deported twice under the name “Jose Reyes” in 1994 and 2000, according to the DOJ. He was able to re-enter the U.S. with a false passport he obtained, using the same identification papers he’d been utilizing to gain fraudulent benefits.

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“The theft of Social Security benefits is a direct attack on the most vulnerable and needy members of our community,” San Diego-area U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman said in a DOJ press release. “Every dollar stolen through this kind of fraud reduces the funds available to our retirees and other worthy beneficiaries.”

“It is this kind of malicious theft of identity and people’s hard-earned benefits which highlights the need for vigilance and thoroughness in all encounters which Border Patrol Agents undertake to thwart this kind of illegal activity,” said Chief Patrol Agent Rodney Scott.
“This successful collaboration between the Social Security Administration, the U.S. Border Patrol and the Department of Justice highlights the need for, and importance of, cooperation among law enforcement partners.”

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