CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX: (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y. - Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Juan Luis Jimenez Cortez, a/k/a Fernando Castillo, 45, a native of Mexico living in Chicago, Illinois, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with aggravated identity theft and making materially false and fictitious statements to a federal officer. The charges carry a minimum penalty of two years in prison, a maximum of five years and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie O. Lamarque, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on August 13, 2017, a Customs and Border Protection Officer encountered the defendant driving a vehicle with an Illinois registration. During primary inspection, Cortez stated that while attempting to drive to Chicago, Illinois, he accidently drove across the Lewiston Queenston Bridge to Canada, and was sent back to the United States side of the border by Canadian border officials. The defendant presented an Illinois Drivers’ License listing the name Fernando Castillo as his proof of identity. Cortez was then referred for a secondary inspection.
During the secondary inspection, the defendant claimed to be a Puerto Rican born United States citizen, and he presented a Social Security card. Criminal record checks using the name and date-of-birth listed on the Illinois Drivers’ License showed multiple narcotic related arrests, including a 2010 conviction in Puerto Rico for drug trafficking. When asked about the drug arrest, Cortez replied that he has never been arrested for drugs. The defendant subsequently admitted that his true name is Juan Luis Jimenez.
The defendant made an initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy and is being held pending a detention hearing on August 16, 2017.
The complaint is the result of an investigation by Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Director of Field Operations Rose Brophy.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Western District of New York