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Press Release

Alien Sentenced To Three Years On Identity Theft Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew today sentenced Jose Avianeda-Espinoza (44, Hillsborough County) to three years in federal prison for making material false representations to an agency of the United Sates, making false statements as to his citizenship, and aggravated identity theft. He pleaded guilty on August 3, 2016. 

According to court documents, Avianeda, a citizen of Mexico, used a U.S. citizen’s identity for nearly 17 years to obtain a number of government identifications and to avoid deportation.  In December 2015, he gave a false name to deportation officers and falsely claimed to be a U.S. citizen.  He subsequently recanted his claim, however, and admitted to being a citizen of Mexico who was illegally present in the United States.  On January 4, 2016, Avianeda appeared before an immigration judge and reasserted his claim to United States citizenship, providing a false name to the court and relying on a stolen birth certificate from Puerto Rico.  He subsequently repeated his false claim to immigration officers.  In March 2016, Avianeda again appeared before an immigration judge for removal proceedings and falsely identified himself to the court. 

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Fugitive Operation Task Force. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kaitlin R. O’Donnell.

Updated November 2, 2016