SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal jury returned a verdict today against Gustavo Araujo Lerma, 64, finding him guilty of one count of aggravated identity theft, one count of passport fraud, and five counts of voting by an alien, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Lerma was born in Mexico in 1955. In the early 1990s he acquired and began fraudulently using the identity of a United States citizen named Hiram Velez. Lerma used the Velez identity to unlawfully obtain U.S. passports and to vote in federal elections.
“The Diplomatic Security Service is firmly committed to ensuring that those who perpetrate passport fraud face punitive consequences for their criminal actions,” said Matthew Perlman, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) San Francisco Field Office. “The strong relationship we enjoy with the U.S. Attorney’s Office is vital towards ensuring the integrity of U.S. travel documents and protecting the American homeland.”
This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katherine T. Lydon and Shea J. Kenny are prosecuting the case.
Lerma is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez on Nov. 26. Lerma faces a mandatory two years in prison for aggravated identity theft to be served consecutively to any other term, a maximum of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for passport fraud, and a maximum of one year in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count of voting by an alien. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.