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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Oklahoma

Monday, April 29, 2019

Illegal Alien Sentenced to Prison for Making False Statements to the Transportation Security Administration

A 33-year-old Mexican national, unlawfully in the United States, has been sentenced to prison for making  false statements to a federal agency and for using a false social security number, announced U.S. Attorney Trent Shores

Today, U.S. District Court Judge Gregory K. Frizzell sentenced Juan Manuel Mata-Cruz, of Tulsa, to 5 months in federal prison to be followed by 1 year supervised release. After his release from prison, he will face deportation proceedings.

“Illegal aliens attempting to illegally access our critical infrastructure with fake green cards is disconcerting. Cases like this have my full attention. This defendant put at risk the safety and security of passengers, airport employees and aircrews,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “The defendant’s attempt to obtain an Airport Security Badge using a counterfeited green card and Social Security Card was quickly uncovered. Credit goes to the men and women of the the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations, Federal Air Marshals Service, the Social Security Administration/Office of Inspector General, and the Tulsa Airport Security Office. They should be commended for upholding federal security laws and procedures which ensure the safety of those traveling and working in U.S. airports. This was quality work by dedicated civil servants.”

On November 9, 2018, Mata-Cruz knowingly made false statements on Tulsa International Airport (“TIA”) paperwork when applying for a security identification badge that would have allowed him unrestricted access to the TIA aircraft operating area. Mata-Cruz was required to obtain the badge as part of his recently obtained position as a restaurant worker at the airport. On the TIA badge application, Mata-Cruz claimed to be a U.S. citizen and used a fraudulent social security number.  Individuals who apply to work in U.S. airports are required to fill out federal background check paperwork that asks specific questions about legal status and previous convictions.  Convicted felons and illegal aliens are among those prohibited from working in an airport.

Mata-Cruz has been in custody since his November 9, 2018 arrest and will remain in custody of the U.S. Marshal pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility.

This case resulted from a joint investigation performed by Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Federal Air Marshal Service, (“FAMS”), the Social Security Administration/Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG) and the Tulsa Airport Security Office. Assistant United States Attorney Charles M. McLoughlin prosecuted the case.

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Updated April 29, 2019