CITIZEN OF MEXICO WHO MISUSED SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER TO RECEIVE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS IS SENTENCED
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that LASARO ALVAREZ-TAPIA, 24, last residing in Wallingford, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Ellen Bree Burns in New Haven to approximately six months of imprisonment, time served, and three years of supervised release, for misusing a Social Security number to receive unemployment insurance compensation benefits from the Connecticut Department of Labor.
According to court documents and statements made in court, ALVAREZ-TAPIA is a citizen of Mexico unlawfully residing in the United States. From February 11, 2008 through September 28, 2010, ALVAREZ-TAPIA filed claims with the Connecticut Department of Labor by using a Social Security number that was not assigned to him, and by representing that he was a United States citizen.
People who do not have a Social Security number or are not lawfully entitled to work in the United States are ineligible to receive unemployment insurance compensation benefits that employers pay to the Connecticut unemployment fund.
In 2010 and 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General (DOL-OIG), was conducting a criminal investigation related to undocumented workers fraudulently seeking and receiving unemployment insurance compensation benefits. As part of the investigation, on June 7, 2011, a DOL-OIG special agent and other federal agents visited a Wallingford residence where unemployment checks had been sent to current and former recipients who had invalid Social Security numbers or Social Security numbers that did not match the name of the person receiving the benefits. At the residence, ALVAREZ-TAPIA told agents that he had created a Social Security number that he used to seek unemployment insurance compensation benefits.
Based on his claims, ALVAREZ-TAPIA received $14,696 in unemployment insurance compensation benefits that he was not entitled to receive. Today Judge Burns ordered ALVAREZ-TAPIA to pay full restitution to the Connecticut Department of Labor.
On December 2, 2011, ALVAREZ-TAPIA pleaded guilty to one count of misuse of a Social Security number.
ALVAREZ-TAPIA, who had illegally reentered the United States after being deported, has been detained since June 7, 2011, and was arrested on a federal criminal complaint on June 21, 2011. He will again be deported to Mexico.
This matter was investigated by the United States Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General; the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Peter S. Jongbloed.
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