Sacto 9-1-1
May 30, 2013
Sacramento man indicted for fraud, identity theft

A Sacramento man is accused of applying for a passport and Social Security benefits under an assumed identity and wrongfully collecting those benefits.

A federal grand jury in Sacramento today returned a five-count indictment charging Rafael Ortega Zarate, 69, with making false statements in an application for a United States passport, making false statements in an application for Social Security benefits, theft of government property and aggravated identity theft, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to the indictment, in October 2012, Zarate falsely applied for a U.S. passport under the assumed identity of Ernesto Ortega. He allegedly applied for Social Security benefits in August 2009, falsely representing that he was Ernesto Ortega and was a United States citizen by birth. The indictment also alleges that between December 2009 and May 2013, Zarate wrongfully collected $33,711 in Supplemental Security Income benefits.

The case resulted from an investigation by the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service and the Social Security Administration's Office of the Inspector General.

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