News and Press Releases

Two Mid-state Individuals Charged with Identity Theft

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 9, 2012

     The United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, announced today that two individuals were indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury in Harrisburg for identity theft-related charges.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, Azucena Cedillo-Palmas, age 32, a native and citizen of Mexico in the United States illegally, was charged in a six-count indictment with Fraud and Misuse of Documents, Social Security Fraud, and False Claim to United States Citizenship.

     The indictment alleges that from September 7, 2011 through January 12, 2012, Cedillo-Palmas knowingly possessed, used, and attempted to use a counterfeit Pennsylvania identification card and social security card under a fraudulent name, falsely claiming to be a United States Citizen, in order to obtain employment at a restaurant in York County, Pennsylvania.

     If convicted, Cedillo-Palmas faces a maximum sentence of up to 10 years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

     Also charged today, according to U.S. Attorney Smith, Ivalen Cruz-Ortiz, age 25, a native and citizen of Mexico, in the United States illegally. Cruz-Ortiz was charged in a seven-count indictment with Fraud and Misuse of Documents, Social Security Fraud, False Claim to United States Citizenship, and Aggravated Identity Theft.

     The indictment alleges that from August 6, 2010 through January 18, 2012, Cruz-Ortiz did knowingly possess, use, or attempt to use a fraudulent alien permanent residence card and social security card under his own name in order to obtain employment.

     In addition, the indictment alleges that from May 26, 2011 through January 9, 2012, Cruz-Ortiz did knowingly possess and use, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person, a birth certificate and social security card of a United States Citizen, knowing that it was the means of identification of another person.

     If convicted, Cruz-Ortiz faces a maximum sentence of up to 13 years' imprisonment and a $500,000 fine.

     Both cases were investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations.

     The Penn Township Police Department assisted with the investigation of Cedillo-Palmas. The Hampden Township Police Department assisted with the investigation of Cruz-Ortiz.

     Prosecution is being handled by Special Assistant United States Attorney Brian G. McDonnell.

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An Indictment or Information is not evidence of guilt but simply a description of the charge made by the Grand Jury and/or United States Attorney against a defendant. A charged Defendant is presumed innocent until a jury returns a unanimous finding that the United States has proven the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt or until the defendant has pled guilty to the charges.

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