Illegal Alien Gets 29 Months for Identity Theft After Living in U.S. More Than 30 Years

By Terence P. Jeffrey | April 10, 2015 | 11:45am EDT

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

( - Jose Alegria-Garcia, an illegal alien from El Salvador who has been in the United States illegally for more than 30 years, has been sentenced to serve 29 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to unlawfully using a Social Security number, falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen and stealing the identity of a U.S. citizen.

“Alegria-Garcia, a citizen of El Salvador, has been in the United States illegally since the early 1980s,” says a statement published by the Office of Inspector General of the Social Security Administration.

The OIG statement was headlined: "Illegal Alien Sentenced to 29 Months in Prison for Identity Theft."

“United States Court Judge Sharon L. Gleason sentenced Alegria-Garcia to the five months imprisonment he has already served on the Social Security number and false citizenship charges, and also imposed a mandatory two-year consecutive term for aggravated identity theft,” said the statement.

“In imposing the sentence, Judge Gleason mentioned the impact on the victim, as well as the defendant’s long criminal record spanning more than 30 years,” said the statement. “The victim, a U.S. national living in New York, stated that he found it difficult to obtain the benefits he was entitled to through Social Security because government records indicated that he was working in Alaska. In fact, Alegria-Garcia was working in Alaska, having stolen the victim’s identity.”

Although Alegria-Garcia had been “in the United States illegally since the early 1980s,” according to the statement published by the Social Security Administration OIG, he was arrested in late 2014, according to a press release put out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“Alegria-Garcias was arrested in November 2014 and charged with unlawful use of a Social Security number, making a false claim of United States citizenship and aggravated identity theft in connection with an application for unemployment benefits from the state of Alaska,” said the ICE press release.

“Jose Alegria-Garcia, 56, admitted in a January plea agreement to knowingly using the identity of a U.S. citizen to obtain benefits from the state of Alaska,” said the ICE press release. “According to court records Alegria-Garcia’s victim, a New York man, discovered his identity had been stolen when he found it difficult to obtain the benefits he was entitled to through Social Security because government records indicated he was working in Alaska.”

The SSA Office of Inspector General has also noted that the Social Security Administration has a long-term problem with W-2s filed by employers on which the name and Social Security Number do not match.

Last November, the OIG issued its fiscal 2014 “Statement on the Social Security Administration’s Major Management and Performance Challenges.” It said that from 2003 to 2012 employers submitted 89.7 million no-match W-2s. The SSA accounts for these in what it calls the “Earnings Suspense File.”

“The Earnings Suspense File (ESF) is the Agency’s repository of wage reports on which wage earners’ names and SSNs fail to match SSA’s records,” said the IG. “Per the latest available data, the ESF had accumulated over $1.2 trillion in wages and 333 million wage items for Tax Years 1937 through 2012. In Tax Year 2012 alone, SSA posted 6.9 million wage items, representing $71 billion, to the ESF. From Tax Years 2003 to 2012, the ESF grew by approximately $749 billion in wages and 89.7 million wage items, representing about 62 percent of the total wages and 26 percent of the total wage items.”

In a section entitled “What the Agency Needs to Do,” the IG's statement said: “Continue to be vigilant in the protection of SSNs. We remain concerned about SSN misuse by noncitizens who are not authorized to work in the United States as well as misuse of SSNs for identity theft purposes.”

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