Two Champaign Men Charged with Aggravated Identity Theft, False Claims Related to Citizenship
URBANA, Ill. – Grand jury indictments returned this week charge two men, both allegedly illegally in the U.S., with aggravated identity theft, making false claims of citizenship, and other related offenses.
Miguel Valencia-Sandoval, 33, of Ivanhoe Drive, Champaign, made his initial appearance on the charges in federal court in Urbana today. The indictment charges Valencia-Sandoval with making a false statement of U.S. citizenship in April 2012, on a passport application, in that he allegedly used another’s identity and stated he was a U.S. citizen when he was not. In addition, he is charged with aggravated identity theft related to the April 2012 passport application. The indictment also charges Valencia-Sandoval with allegedly making a false claim of citizenship to vote in November 2016; aggravated identity theft, and three misdemeanor counts of voting in an election by an illegal alien, in November 2016, November 2014, and November 2012.
Valencia-Sandoval was previously charged in a criminal complaint filed in the Central District of Illinois on Jan. 9, 2017. According to the affidavit in support of the complaint, on Jan. 7, 2017, Valencia-Sandoval applied for admission to the U.S. from Mexico via the Lincoln Juarez Port of Entry, into Laredo, Texas. After he was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, Valencia-Sandoval was charged with illegally attempting to enter the U.S. in a separate complaint filed by the Southern District of Texas. According to court documents, Valencia-Sandoval waived an identity hearing in Texas, consented to transfer to the Central District of Illinois, and remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending future court hearings in the Central District of Illinois, Urbana division.
A separate, unrelated indictment charges Salvador Garcia-Luna, 27, of the 1700 block of Henry St., Champaign, with making a false statement of U.S. citizenship and aggravated identity theft, in March 2016, on a passport application, in that he allegedly used another’s identity and stated he was a U.S citizen when he was not. Garcia-Luna is also charged with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, an illegal alien, on Jan. 4, 2017.
Garcia-Luna was initially charged by indictment on Jan. 3, 2017, with making a false statement of U.S. citizenship on a passport application. The superseding indictment returned this week charges Garcia-Luna with the additional counts. Garcia-Luna was arrested in Champaign, on Jan. 6, 2017, and appeared in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Eric I. Long, who ordered that Garcia-Luna remain detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. Arraignment on the superseding indictment is scheduled on Feb. 16, 2017.
The charges against Valencia-Sandoval and Garcia-Luna are the result of investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations. In addition, the Champaign County Street Crimes Unit and the Department of State Diplomatic Security Service assisted in the investigation of Garcia-Luna. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Freres is prosecuting both cases.
If convicted, the maximum statutory penalty for each offense is as follows: making a false statement in a passport application - up to 10 years in prison; aggravated identity theft – a minimum two years in prison served consecutive to any other sentence; possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, an illegal alien – up to 10 years in prison; making a false statement or claim of citizenship to vote - up to five years in prison; voting by illegal alien - up to one year in prison. The maximum statutory penalty for each offense charged is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as sentencing is determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; each defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.