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Press Release

Mexican Citizen Pleads Guilty To Faking His Own Kidnapping In An Attempt To Obtain An Immigration Visa

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

United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald today announced the guilty plea of ALEJANDRO MARIO CORTES, 46, to one count of visa fraud and one count of illegally reentering the United States. CORTES, who was initially charged via criminal complaint on August 28, 2018, pleaded guilty earlier today before Senior Judge Michael J. Davis in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

According to the defendant’s guilty plea, between April 11, 2018 and August 29, 2018, CORTES conspired with another individual to fraudulently apply for and obtain a U Visa based on the false claim that CORTES was kidnapped from his home in Chicago, Illinois and taken against his will to St. Paul, Minnesota. As part of the scheme, CORTES and his co-conspirator traveled together from Illinois to Minnesota and stayed in a storage facility for several days. On April 17, 2018, the co-conspirator drove CORTES to St. Paul and, at CORTES’ request, bound the defendant’s mouth and hands with duct tape and left him near Randolph Avenue in St. Paul. Law enforcement officers responded to a report made by a snowplow driver and located the individual, who later identified himself as CORTES.

In his guilty plea, CORTES admitted to telling local and federal law enforcement officers that he had been kidnapped from Chicago and transported to Minnesota against his will, and that he received multiple threatening text messages in the days leading up to the fabricated kidnapping. CORTES also admitted that he sought medical treatment at Regions Hospital for injuries he claimed to have sustained during the kidnapping, and he obtained gift cards for personal items from an organization providing services to crime victims.

CORTES is a citizen of Mexico with no lawful status in the United States. CORTES was removed from the United States in 2001, and again in 2010.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI and the Saint Paul Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela Munoz-Kaphing is prosecuting the case.


Defendant Information:


Chicago, Ill.


  • Conspiracy to commit visa fraud, 1 count
  • Reentry of removed alien, 1 count






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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600

Updated October 23, 2018