SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — A Caldwell County man was sentenced to ten years in federal prison Tuesday for defrauding illegal aliens and U.S. citizens while pretending to be a Drug Enforcement Administration special agent.
Federal prosecutors say 47-year-old Modesto Gonzalez told illegal aliens that he was a DEA agent and he could assist them in getting immigration status for a fee. The victims said at trial Gonzalez told them they and their children would be deported if they did not pay up.
Those aliens paid him thousands of dollars each.
Prosecutors say he also told U.S. citizens and other legal residents he would sell them property seized by the DEA, including earth-moving equipment. Gonzalez received tens of thousand of dollars based on those statements.
Gonzalez was not a DEA agent and had no ability to act on the statements he made to the victims. On top of those payments, Gonzalez forced the victims to pay for “taxes” he said he had to pay for them.
Gonzalez had previously been convicted twice of federal charges of impersonating law enforcement and once on a state charge of the same crime.
He pleaded guilty to a count of wire fraud and a count of being a felon in possession of a firearm in March. Gonzalez was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison on the wire fraud charge and five years on the gun charge, set to run concurrently.