by Andrew Kerr
A Mexican national who said he supports President Donald Trump was sentenced in Sacramento on Tuesday to three years, nine months in prison for illegally casting votes in federal elections for the past 20 years.
Gustavo Araujo Lerma, 64, was found by a federal jury in August of assuming the identity of an American to cast illegal votes in federal elections, The Associated Press reported. He was convicted on five counts of voting by an alien in federal elections, in addition to aggravated identity theft.
“Today’s sentence serves to protect the public’s confidence in the immigration system, passport security, and federal elections and will deter others from perpetrating this type of fraud,” U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott said Tuesday.
Lerma, who insisted he was an American citizen by the name of Hiram Enrique Valez, testified during his trial that he supports Trump and has made contributions to the Republican Party.
Lerma argued that there was no proof he was a Mexican citizen. He said he was found on the streets of San Antonio when he was 5 years old and did not know where he was born.
But prosecutors argued during Lerma’s trial that he was born in Mexico in 1955 and that he illegally acquired the identity of Valez in the early 1990s to obtain a passport and vote in federal elections.
Lerma also fraudulently obtained legal permanent residence status by lying on immigration applications, which later enabled him to obtain United States citizenship for his wife and two children, prosecutors said.
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Andrew Kerr is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.