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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mexican citizen sentenced for faking identity

WCF Courier
Saturday, March 5, 2011

POSTVILLE, Iowa - A Mexican citizen has been sentenced to prison for using another person's identity to gain employment in Postville.

Andres Hernandez-Marmolejo, 39, of Michoacan, Mexico, secured a job at Agri Star Meat and Poultry in December 2009 allegedly using a Missouri drivers license and a fake Social Security card identifying him as "Adam Garcia," according to court records.

Agri Star is the successor of the Agriprocessors kosher meat packing plant. Agriprocessors went into bankruptcy shortly after a May 2008 immigration raid that uncovered 389 undocumented workers.

On Thursday, Judge Linda Reade sentenced Hernandez to two years and three months in prison following a guilty plea to charges of making a false claim of citizenship on an employment form, possessing false identity documents and aggravated identity theft.

He must serve three years of supervised release and is subject to deportation after his prison time.

According to court records, Hernandez was arrested for drunken driving in Winneshiek County in July 2010 and claimed he was a U.S. citizen. In the probe that followed, agents with Homeland Security Investigations - formerly Immigration and Customs Enforcement - found the bogus Social Security card and Missouri ID with Garcia's name in Hernandez's wallet.

The Social Security number apparently belonged to an actual person.

Hernandez later admitted he paid $1,200 card and used it to apply at Agri Star. He told agents he knew the number belonged to a real person, records state.

Investigators also checked his I-9 employment form at the company and found he had checked a box claiming to be a U.S. citizen.

As part of the hiring process, Agri Star verifies the Social Security numbers of applicants to ensure they were actually issued as opposed to being a string of random digits, court records state.