US Sentences Guatemalan for Receiving Excess Welfare Benefits

US Sentences Guatemalan for Receiving Excess Welfare Benefits

An illegal immigrant woman has been sentenced for receiving above $19,900 in the overpayment of several US welfare benefits, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) revealed.

46-year-old Cleotilde Puac-Gomez, a Guatemalan, will be behind bars for the next two months for not reporting the income of her husband when she submitted an application for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as well as Medicaid benefits which she enjoyed from June 2012 to November 2017.

Her husband who is also an illegal alien in the US was given six months jail term in March for using someone else's SSN (Social Security Number) to get work, which he did under an alias. They both lived in Iowa.

As for the wife, Puac-Gomez, she will pay back the $19,908.30 she received as a benefit from the state of Iowa and will be supervised for three years after serving her sentence, ICE said.

Public affairs officer for ICE, Shawn Neudauer, the illegal migrant couple may be removed from the US after serving their sentences.

Aggravating SSN and benefit fraud

On September 11, 2018, Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) published a report which revealed 39 million instances of names and SSN mismatch. The lion share of the mismatch was attributed to the period when sending of “no match” letters to employers was stopped by former President Obama. The then president stopped the practice in a bid to ensure Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applicants are not scared of the program. IRLI attributed the mismatch to illegal aliens who took advantage of this window. The practice was reinstated by president Trump.

There have also been many cases of identity theft in a bid to get benefits. A Mexican fraudulently received above $242,000 in Social Security retirement benefits and was sentenced on multiple charges in March.

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