Thursday, September 24, 2009

South Elgin man charged with felony ID theft (The Courier News)

South Elgin man charged with felony ID theft

September 23, 2009

SOUTH ELGIN — A South Elgin man suspected of living in the United States illegally has been charged with felony identity theft, authorities said.

Vicente Zaragoza, 43, of the 700 block of Michigan Avenue, was arrested Monday. He is accused of using another person's Social Security number to obtain work at a South Elgin business and later collected unemployment using the stolen number, South Elgin Police Detective Mike Doty said.

Using the stolen Social Security number, Zaragoza reportedly made a little more than $119,000 in earnings from September 2003 through February 2007.

The woman whose Social Security number Zaragoza was using discovered the theft of her identity after she tried to obtain public aid, according to police.

"She found out that someone was using her Social Security number for work or unemployment services," Doty said, "and she was unable to get (aide) initially based on the fact that someone had been getting paid."

If convicted on the Class 1 felony charge of financial identity theft, Zaragoza faces up to 15 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. It is also "a possibility Zaragoza will face deportation charges," Sgt. Doty said.

Kane County Judge John A. Noverini set Zaragoza's bail at $50,000 Tuesday. Zaragoza is to appear in court again Oct. 2 in the Kane County Judicial Center in St. Charles.

Doty said his department has noticed that a number of cases of illegal immigrants purchasing stolen Social Security numbers and permanent resident cards. He said there are locations in Elgin and Chicago where the documents can be purchased for anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $1,000.

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