Crime

Alleged identity thief busted over taxes on Mississippi income

Gregorio Villanueva-Medina
Gregorio Villanueva-Medina

GULFPORT -- A man in the United States stole someone else's identity to earn more than $100,000 at Gulf Coast Shipyard Inc., but he never paid taxes on the income, prompting the Internal Revenue Service to write a letter to the victim demanding he pay more than $7,000 in back taxes, court records show.

The victim reported his suspicions that someone had stolen his identity to Gulfport police.

What followed was an investigation and the identification of Gregorio Villannueva-Medina, 35, as the suspect allegedly using the victims' identity for two years for his employment at Gulf Coast Shipyard Inc. at the Port of Gulfport.

A federal criminal complaint filed last week accuses Villannueva-Medina of identity theft. He is being held at the Harrison County jail without bond pending a detention hearing Monday in federal court.

After Villannnueva-Medina was taken into custody, the complaint says, he admitted using the fake identification. He told authorities he bought the fake paperwork, including a Social Security card, from a friend he knew only as "Jose." He said he did not pay for the documentation.

In addition, Villannueva-Medina told authorities, according to the complaint, he received this wage-earning documentation to do his taxes but didn't know what the paperwork was used for and threw it away.

The investigation began March 7, shortly after the victim received a demand letter from the IRS demanding he pay more than $7,000 in back taxes for his work at the company over a two-year period ending in 2015. The victim reported the information to authorities.

Over the next week and a half, Gulfport police went to Gulf Coast Shipyard to obtain the suspect's employment records. From there, they compared signatures on employment records to signatures on Villannueva-Medina's lease agreement at a Gulfport apartment complex. The case is currently pending grand jury review for an indictment.

Gulfport police and agents with the Department of Homeland Security investigated the case.

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