As we’ve reported, local youth soccer coach Gerardo Nava came to a plea agreement in Third District Court Monday after being arrested last year on allegations of Identity Fraud.
With a crowd of supporters in attendance, the 35-year-old non-citizen pled to a reduced Misdemeanor Charge.
His attorney said that Nava’s history is not unusual.
The Utah Attorney General’s Office filed Identity Fraud and Forger charges against Nava in September of 2018.
An agent from their Secure Strike Force reported they got information from Work Force Services that Nava had been working for a Park City restaurant the past eight years with a Social Security number that, according to records, actually belongs to an 11-year-old girl.
He has been using the number since 2002.
The information was confirmed when agents checked with the girl’s father and with the Social Security Administration. It was also discovered that his “A number”—an Alien Registration number, belongs to a 60-year-old man.
His attorney, Daniel Black, told KPCW that Nava was arrested last week.
“I’m not sure how they found out about this, but there is a whole department of the state of Utah that is researching identity fraud and things like that," Black continued. "Now this is a case that is very common because there are millions of immigrants in the United States who purchase false documentation in order to work. When they get the false Social Security card it has their own name on it, but it has a made up number, right just a random number. Some of them have the very bad luck that that number happens to belong to a person who's actually alive. So, then they get charged with identity fraud even though they did not know that that number pertain to any person in particular.”
Asked about the people who sell the phony documents, Black said state authorities would love to go after them.
“In fact, I think that is their main focus is to try and get those people," Black explained. "The problem is that those who are creating these false documents are very elusive an are constantly changing locations and things like that. From what I've heard, I have very little information about who they are. It would have to be someone in the immigrant community that has used those services who could give them that information.”
He said he was impressed with the number of people—70 or more—who showed up at the court hearing to support Nava.
“All these folks came to support him," Black said. "I've never seen so many people come into a courtroom on one case, let alone clap afterwards.”