Harrison County

Notice of back taxes leads to charge of stolen identity

Gregorio Villanueva-Medina
Gregorio Villanueva-Medina

GULFPORT -- A Gulfport man called police in March after the Internal Revenue Service notified him he owed back taxes for 2014 and taxes for 2015.

The back tax amount was $7,652 for $48,610,05 in wages the man reportedly earned in 2014 while working for Gulf Coast Shipyard Group Inc. at the state port. And he was told the business paid him $64,805.10 in 2015.

The man has never worked there, an affidavit said, but a Honduran who had assumed his identity did, and was still employed there until his March 21 arrest.

Gregorio Villanueva-Medina, 35, is held on a federal charge of aggravated identity theft.

He pleaded not guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court. He is set for trial on a court calendar that starts June 6.

Magistrate Judge Robert H. Walker denied him bond after hearing testimony about the allegations.

Villanueva-Medina's father and six siblings live in Honduras and he has no family ties here, Walker said, describing him as a flight risk and a financial danger to the community.

The Gulfport man and his wife had lodged a complaint with Gulfport police March 11 after he received a notice of back taxes from the IRS.

Paperwork at Gulfport Shipyard on Seaway Road showed an employee with the Gulfport man's name had been working for the company since May 2014. Police obtained copies of Villanueva-Medina's falsified Social Security and U.S. Employment Authorization cards from the company's human resources office, and learned he was living on the Coast, an affidavit said.

A detective picked him up at the Port of Gulfport and learned he had a Louisiana identification card.

Villanueva-Medina told the detective a friend named Jose had given him the other man's identity information and admitted he had been using the man's name, the affidavit said.

He told the detective he had received mail about his wages -- W-2 forms -- for 2014 and 2015, but said he didn't know what it meant so he didn't do anything with the forms, according to the affidavit.

A judge dismissed the state charge after a federal grand jury indicted Villanueva-Medina on the federal charge March 24.

The indictment includes a criminal forfeiture clause that says any property acquired with illegally obtained proceeds can be seized.

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