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Illegal immigrant punished for stealing disabled vet’s identity to get welfare

A gavel cracks down. (Airman 1st Class Aspen Reid/U.S. Air Force)
January 21, 2022

An illegal immigrant who stole the identity of a disabled United States military veteran was sentenced in U.S. District Court last week.

According to the Department of Justice, Fernando Arroyo-Alonso, 59, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for misusing the veteran’s Social Security number. After serving his sentence, Arroyo-Alonso will be deported to Mexico.

The DOJ said Arroyo-Alonso submitted an online application in May 2019 for Title XVI Supplemental Security Income benefits using the disabled veteran’s identity. He also used the victim’s identity, date of birth and Social Security number to get a driver’s license in Ohio.

Additionally, the defendant obtained a criminal record while claiming to be the disabled veteran.

 A 2020 federal audit revealed that nearly 400,000 Americans are who are victims of identity theft – in cases where the criminal uses a stolen identity for employment purposes – were unaware because the Internal Revenue Service had not notified them.

According to the report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, 133,864 American children had their identities stolen, but the IRS failed to notify their parents of the crimes.  

 Almost 61,000 Americans were also not notified of cases involving stolen identities because of “programming errors.” The report explained that IRS policy only requires the agency to “notify repeat victims of employment identity theft every three years,” which auditors said “may result in many victims not being notified.”

“The IRS’s unwillingness to take any action in an effort to notify parents or legal guardians is problematic because of the impact and damage that theft of a child’s identity can have on future credit and employment history. The IRS is in a unique position to identify this type of child identity theft and provide individuals with the information they need to minimize the impact,” the report stated. “However, without notification, parents and legal guardians cannot take the same proactive steps the IRS suggests when an adult’s [Taxpayer Identification Number] is identified as being used to fraudulently obtain employment.”

Auditors recommended the IRS “develop a process to identify and notify the parents and legal guardians of the fraudulent use of a claimed dependent’s TIN to gain employment,” but the IRS “disagreed with this recommendation.”

“IRS management stated it notifies victims of employment-related identity theft if they have an active tax account. Management does not intend to notify individuals without active tax accounts,” the agency responded.