Man avoids jail by faking illegal immigrant status

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah man who claimed to be an illegal immigrant from Mexico to avoid going to prison is now wanted by police after he returned to the United States and acknowledged his true identity to a judge.Jaime Alvarado, 27, of Salt Lake City, was charged Wednesday in Utah’s 3rd District Court with a second-degree felony for giving false material statements and a misdemeanor charge for giving false personal information to a peace officer.The charges stem from a 2010 arrest when Alvarado told Salt Lake City police, a Utah state courts judge and federal immigration officials that he was actually Saul Quiroz and had emigrated from Mexico illegally. At the time, Alvarado was facing up to 15 years in prison for the possession of cocaine and heroin with the intent to distribute.Instead of going to prison, Alvarado was deported to Mexico based on his false identity, according to court records. But he then returned to the United States using his American passport and earlier this year was arrested in Salt Lake City on an outstanding warrant connected to his guilty plea.On Feb. 3, Alvarado acknowledged during a court hearing that he had lied about his identity. In a follow-up letter to the judge, he said he regretted lying and asked for leniency because his family depended on him.”I have a good job right now, a lot of little girls waiting for me and a family that will support me,” Alvarado said. “It’s my first offense and my last. I want to spend the rest of my life with my kids!”The case was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement who determined that Alvarado was a legal citizen and released him in June. A $50,000 warrant was issued Oct. 31 for his arrest.An attorney has not been appointed for Alvarado, and a current phone number cannot be located for him.——Josh Loftin can be reached at http://twitter.com/joshloftin .

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