Friday, December 2, 2011

Man loses citizenship over marriage fraud

Hailey resident sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

A 38-year-old Hailey man has lost his U.S. citizenship and now faces deportation following sentencing this week on a federal conviction for unlawful procurement of U.S. citizenship.

At sentencing Monday in U.S. District Court in Boise, Judge B. Lynn Winmill placed Americo De La Cruz on probation for five years and ordered that his citizenship be immediately revoked.

In a press release, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson reported that deportation proceedings have also been initiated for De La Cruz by the federal Department of Homeland Security/Citizenship and Immigration Services agency.

De La Cruz pleaded guilty to the charge in August. In accord with a plea agreement, he admitted to marrying a U.S. citizen in 2000 "for the sole purpose of obtaining immigration benefits," Olson stated.

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"De La Cruz further admitted that he then applied for immigration benefits by asserting that his marriage was a legitimate marriage," Olson stated. "As a result of De La Cruz's fraud, he was naturalized as a United States citizen on July 9, 2009."

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

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

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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