Friday, September 2, 2011

Hailey man to lose U.S. citizenship

Defendant pleads guilty to naturalization by fraud


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Boise reported Wednesday that a 38-year-old Hailey man has pleaded guilty to obtaining U.S. citizenship by fraud.

Americo De La Cruz entered his guilty plea earlier Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Boise.

The U.S. Attorney's Office reported in a news release that De La Cruz obtained citizenship by way of a fraudulent marriage to a U.S. citizen, whom he married in 2000. He was granted permanent residency status in 2006 and U.S. citizenship in 2009.

"Had he truthfully disclosed the nature of his fraudulent marriage in his application for immigration benefits, or in follow-up interviews with Citizen and Immigration Services, De La Cruz would have been denied U.S. citizenship," stated U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson.

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Sentencing was scheduled for Nov. 28 before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Boise. The U.S. Attorney's Office reported that as part of a plea agreement, De La Cruz agreed that his citizenship be revoked.

Unlawful procurement of citizenship is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

De La Cruz was arrested in May in a case investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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