15 foreign workers at LNG construction site arrested, charged with identity theft

BEAUMONT - A dozen Mexican nationals , two Guatemalan nationals and a Honduran found working at a liquefied natural gas facility construction site in Cameron Parish have been arrested and charged with identity theft.

The fifteen men were arrested by federal agents at a LNG facility construction site in Cameron, Louisiana.on Thursday evening, May 4, 2017, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Earlier that week a federal grand jury in Beaumont indicted all 15 men on charges of identity theft, alleging that they had made false claims of citizenship and used social security numbers of U.S. citizens to get jobs at the site for the past three years the release said.

The men are all in the U.S. illegally, working under names from fraudulently obtained legitimate social security numbers as well as matching birth certificates issued, primarily in Puerto Rico the release said.

The men were able to use the documents to obtain state issued identification in Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Texas and other states according to the release.

The men were able to successfully pass the E-verify systems used by their employers and all 15 were identified after being arrested under their assumed names the release said.

All of the men were hired in Port Arthur, Texas, hiring offices by subcontractors where they would be  interviewed and E-verified before reporting to the jobsite in Louisiana. the release said.

Some of the men could face more charges or increased sentences if found guilty because they have previously been deported by immigration authorities.

“Protecting critical infrastructure is a national security priority for law enforcement,” Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston said in the release.

“To do so we must make sure that workers in our community, and especially those working in proximity to vital national interests like our oil and chemical industries, are legal and properly vetted as required by law.  Further, we must remain vigilant to these concerns to protect the economy and the law abiding worker," he said in the release.

The following men, who if convicted, each face up to five years in federal prison, were arrested and made initial appearances in federal court Monday:

• Miguel Roblero-Morales, 36, of Guatemala;
• Mario Arnulfo Pantaleon-Castaneda, 30, of Guatemala;
• Luis Angel Pulido Cervantes, 29, of Mexico;
• Joel Pulido-Gutierrez, 27, of Mexico;
• Juan Manuel Zavala-Leon, 30, of Mexico;
• Rigoberto Romo Martinez, 41, of Mexico;
• Jose De Jesus Vega-Gutierrez, 31, of Mexico;
• Juan Alexis Juarez-Coto, 46, of Honduras;
• Felix Jiminez-Ruiz, 25, of Mexico;
• Jose Gutierrez-Valencia, 27, of Mexico;
• Bernardo Hernandez-Gallo, 37, of Mexico;
• Elizar Alvarez-Barajas, 43, of Mexico;
• Roberto Carlos Cruz Cruz, 28 of Mexico;
• Guily Tenorio-Sierra, 21, of Mexico; and
• Arturo Rebollar-Osorio, 34, of Mexico.

The case is being investigated by agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations, Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, Coast Guard Investigative Service, the Texas Department of Public Safety and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert L. Rawls according to the release.

 

 

© 2017 KBMT-TV


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