Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hailey man arrested on ‘citizenship’ charge

Suspect accused of falsifying documents and perjury


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Boise has reported that a Hailey man was arrested last week for allegedly obtaining U.S. citizenship by unlawful means.

The man was identified as 33-year-old Americo De La Cruz. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in Boise last week on charges of "false swearing in an immigration matter," "unlawful procurement of citizenship" and perjury.

According to a news release, De La Cruz allegedly gave false information in a sworn interview with immigration officials, provided erroneous information in applications for citizenship and obtained U.S. citizenship through fraudulent means.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.

"The defendant in this case falsely believed that he could obtain U.S. citizenship through deceitful means," Brad Bench, deputy special agent for Homeland Security Investigations in Idaho, stated in the news release. "However, the outcome of this investigation clearly demonstrates that our nation's immigration laws are to be respected and not flaunted."

The crimes of false swearing in an immigration matter and unlawful procurement of citizenship are each punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Perjury is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The case is the fourth federal immigration case to surface from Blaine County this month. In the other three cases, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced last week that three men had pleaded guilty to involvement in "sham" marriages to help Peruvian women obtain legal residency in the U.S.

In plea agreements, Joshua Lee Buell, 29, of Ketchum, Daniel Casado, 33, of Austin, Texas, and Byron Thomas Bain, 33, of Friday Harbor, Wash., admitted to the misdemeanor crime of "aiding and abetting making fraudulent statements in an application for immigration registration."

According to the U.S. Attorney General's Office, Bain was fined $3,500 at sentencing on May 18. Sentencing for Buell and Casado is scheduled in federal court for July 20.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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