Glenwood Springs man pleads guilty to identity theft
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” A suspected illegal immigrant admitted Tuesday to using a Rifle woman’s Social Security number at Glenwood Medical Associates.
Carlos Efren Suriano, 33, of Glenwood Springs, pleaded guilty to identity theft under a deferred judgment and sentence, and he also pleaded guilty to false reporting with no deferred judgment and sentence. A count of forgery was dismissed in a plea agreement.
District Judge Gail Nichols sentenced Suriano to two years of probation and to pay $547 in costs and fees. Suriano has already spent about 99 days in jail. He was also ordered to obey probation and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Suriano was ordered not to return to the U.S. illegally if he’s deported. If he’s not deported, or if he returns to the U.S. legally, Suriano was ordered to report to probation immediately.
Glenwood Springs police arrested Suriano Nov. 4 on suspicion of identity theft and forgery. An employee at Glenwood Medical Associates told police Suriano came in on Oct. 30 and gave her a Social Security card to pay for treatment, police said in an arrest affidavit.
The employee said the Social Security number was already in the clinic’s system and it belonged to a Rifle woman, police said.
The employee photocopied the Social Security card and an expired U.S. resident alien card that Suriano presented, police said, and she alerted the customer whose Social Security number was already in the clinic’s system. The customer alerted a police detective about the allegations.
Suriano had a construction job before his arrest. The clinic employee reportedly called the employer and asked about the Social Security number. The employer said, “Well, that’s what he gave us,” and didn’t seem concerned, the clinic employee told police, according to the affidavit.
Asked who investigates employers hiring illegal immigrants, an ICE spokesman said in November, “ICE obtains leads from many confidential sources. Based on the information provided, ICE may follow up on the lead and determine if further investigation is warranted ” either for illegal hiring practices of the employer and/or aliens working illegally.”
The spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday on whether Suriano’s former employer was ever investigated or suspected of illegal hiring practices.
“It’s not unusual that illegal aliens provide false or stolen identities to obtain employment,” the ICE spokesman said previously. “Employers are not required to be fraudulent document experts. However, employers will likely be alerted by the Social Security Administration when a name and Social Security number do not match.”
ICE encourages employers to participate in the Department of Homeland Security’s e-verify program at http://www.uscis.gov to identify when a new hire’s name and Social Security number do not match, the ICE spokesman said.
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Imagine Glenwood and The City of Glenwood Springs is slated to host a virtual town hall at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 11.