Columbia County Man Charged With Fraud, Theft, And Identity Theft For Obtaining Driver License And Food Stamps Using The Identity Of A Deceased Person
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida
Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces the return of an indictment charging Luis Alberto Villazon (63, Fort White) with wire fraud, theft of government property, making false statements to a federal agency, fraudulent use of a Social Security number, and aggravated identity theft. If convicted, the wire fraud charges each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, theft of government property carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment, the false statements and fraudulent use of a Social Security number charges each carry a maximum penalty of 5 years, and the aggravated identity theft charges each carry a mandatory 2-year sentence, at least one of which must run consecutively to any other sentence. The indictment also notifies Villazon that the United States intends to seek forfeiture of approximately $50,000, the estimated amount of proceeds obtained as a result of the offenses.
According to the indictment and other court documents, in 1998, Villazon, who had previously lived in New York, applied for and obtained a Florida driver license using the name, date of birth, and Social Security number of a person who was born in New York in July 1959, and died in New York in 1976. Villazon was born in August 1959. Villazon renewed the license several times, on one occasion presenting a New York birth certificate and a Social Security document under the false identity. During the same time-period, Villazon obtained and renewed a license in his real name. Both licenses were still valid at the end of 2022.
Beginning in 2011, Villazon applied for and obtained Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly called food stamps, under both the false identity and his true identity. The program required Villazon to submit renewal applications about every six months and each time he applied under the false identity, he provided the name, date of birth, and Social Security number of the person who died in 1976. Villazon received benefits totaling $25,388 under the false identity through December 2022 and received benefits under his real name totaling $22,902 through November 2021.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Department of Agriculture – Office of Inspector General, the Social Security Administration – Office of the Inspector General, and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Arnold B. Corsmeier.
Updated March 9, 2023