A man from Mexico illegally residing in the country and deported twice successfully passed as U.S. citizen for nearly four decades. According to court records, the U.S. government gave the man over $360,000 in benefits for 37 years.
Andres Avelino Anduaga allegedly started to use a false birth certificate in 1980 and was able to assume U.S. identity ever since. He also got a driver’s license and a SSN in California and even a U.S. passport. Anduaga claimed that he was born in 1958 in Texas.
In reality, the man was born in Tijuana, Mexico, in 1952. Last week, he pleaded guilty to all charges and acknowledged that he is an illegal immigrant who had been deported twice.
He agreed to pay back the money he stole from the government and extra fines. He could also spend at least 12 years behind bars. His sentence is scheduled for May.
Mexican Man Had Been Living in Mexico the Whole Time
Authorities first realized that there may be something wrong with Anduaga’s story in 2015 when he tried to refresh his disability benefits. When authorities went to his home in California, the landlord told them that the man never lived there as he was residing in Mexico.
Investigators later found that the man often traveled from Mexico to the U.S. and back as his real home was in Mexico. They also found that Anduaga used nearly two dozen different names in the U.S., and had been caught with forgery, firearms violations, drug possession, and several DUIs under some of those identities.
Immigration authorities revealed they deported him twice, in 1994 and 2000.
Government benefits were paid to him until August 1, 2016 as he had asked for Supplemental Security Income benefits in the late 1980s. The $244,441 in benefits were given to him retroactively since 1988.
He also applied for Medi-Cal benefits, which supplemented his income by an extra $112,981. Plus, the food stamps he collected under a county-wide program climbed to $3,486.
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