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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Louisiana

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mexican National Sentenced

U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that ANGEL LARA-MERIDA, age 44, a native of Mexico, was sentenced yesterday on a one-count Indictment for making a false claim of citizenship in order to obtain employment, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1015(e).

U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance sentenced LARA-MERIDA to time served, which was seven months. LARA-MERIDA will be surrendered to the custody of the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement for removal proceedings.

According to court documents, officers with the Kenner Police Department and Special Agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), responded to a request for assistance call made from a location in Kenner. They met with the caller in person, who stated that he received a notice from the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) that showed he owed $2,443 in taxes.  The caller stated that this was inaccurate, and that he never worked for the company listed on the notice.

The investigation determined that LARA-MERIDA had used the name of the caller in order to obtain employment.  ICE agents then determined that LARA-MERIDA had worked for a company in the area. An agent obtained employment records which showed that he had used a Texas Identification card and Social Security card in the name of the caller. The Social Security card he used contained the caller’s Social Security number.

LARA-MERIDA admitted to ICE agents that he used the false documents on January 30, 2012, to obtain employment.  When he filled out the employment form, LARA-MERIDA provided the company with the Social Security card belonging to the caller, which also contained his Social Security number. A Homeland Security Form I-9 (Employee Eligibility Verification) was also completed by LARA-MERIDA. The Form I-9 shows that he attested, under penalty of perjury, that he was a United States citizen.  The form I-9 contains his signature declaring that the information that he provided on the form is true, when in fact he knew that he was not a United States citizen.  LARA-MERIDA also admitted that he was an alien and citizen of Mexico and that he did not have permission to reenter the United States.

U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the Department of Homeland Security and the Kenner Police Department in investigating this matter.  Assistant United States Attorney Jon Maestri is in charge of the prosecution.


Updated February 26, 2015