Crime

Man admits using stolen identity to earn $113,000

Medina
Medina

GULFPORT -- A man from Honduras has admitted he assumed a Gulfport man's identity and earned more than $113,000 in income reported to the Internal Revenue Service.

Gregorio Villanueva Medina, 35, had earned the money in 2014 and 2015, and was caught after the IRS sent the Gulfport man a notice of back taxes owed.

Medina will be sentenced Aug. 23 on a guilty plea to aggravated identity theft.

He faces maximum penalties of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He also could be removed from the United States after an immigration hearing.

The Gulfport man and his wife had lodged a complaint with Gulfport police March 11. The man told police the IRS said he had worked for the Gulf Coast Shipyard Group at the state Port of Gulfport, earning $48,610.05 in 2014, and $64,805.10 in 2015, court papers show.

Back taxes owed for 2014 were $7,652.

Medina had worked for the Gulfport shipyard since May 2014 using falsified Social Security and U.S. Employment Authorization cards.

A detective picked him up March 21 at the Port of Gulfport and learned Medina had a Louisiana ID card.

He told the detective someone had given him the ID information, a court document said. He also said he had received mail about his wages -- W-2 forms -- for 2014 and 2015, but didn't know what it meant so he didn't do anything with the forms.

His father and six siblings live in Honduras and he has no family ties in South Mississippi, records show.

Police arrested him on a state charge of identity theft. That charge will be dismissed.

A federal grand jury indicted him April 5.

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

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