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Press Release

Guatemalan Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Document Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Used Fraudulent Document One Week after Illegally Entering the United States

A Guatemalan man who unlawfully used a fraudulent identification document was sentenced today to more than two months in federal prison.

Jose Lopez-Morales, age 36, a citizen of Guatemala residing in Independence, Iowa, received the prison term after a January 25, 2018, guilty plea to one count of unlawful use of identification documents.

At the guilty plea, Lopez-Morales admitted that on November 2, 2017, he used a fraudulent permanent resident card, bearing a fake name, when completing employment forms to obtain a job in Fairbank, Iowa.  The social security account number used by Lopez-Morales on the employment forms belonged to a United States citizen and the lawful permanent resident number on the card was not assigned to him.  On October 24, 2017, U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested Lopez-Morales and his minor child in Arizona after they illegally entered the United States.  On October 25, 2017, Lopez-Morales was released pending immigration proceedings.  On December 5, 2017, Lopez-Morales reported to the immigration office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and initially denied being illegally employed in the United States before admitting he worked under a false name in Fairbank.

Lopez-Morales was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by Chief United States District Court Judge Leonard T. Strand.  Lopez-Morales was sentenced to 76 days’ imprisonment.  He must also serve a two-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

Lopez-Morales is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be turned over to immigration officials.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel C. Tvedt and investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Enforcement and Removal Operations.

Court file information at

The case file number is 17-CR-2095.

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Updated March 19, 2018