ST. GEORGE – Three men were arrested by police on Thursday for various charges related to identity fraud and forgery.
In each case, detectives received information that the men used false identification to obtain employment at a local business, St. George Police Capt. Kyle Whitehead said.
The Fraudulent Identity and Security Threat task force conducted the investigation and made the arrests. FIST is a task force that includes officers from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, St. George Police and Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Whitehead said.
Marco Mendez, 31, of St. George, Jose A. Villalovos, 37, of Washington City, and Jairo Saaverda-Cruz, 23, of St. George, were all arrested for third degree felony counts of possession of forgery writing/device and second degree felonies for identity theft.
Officers received information that each of the men had used false or fake identification cards that belonged to someone else. The identification cards used included social security cards and U.S. permanent resident cards.
In about 90 percent of these cases the false identification cards are obtained in Las Vegas or California, Whitehead said. There are people who sell these cards and sometimes they look legitimate and sometimes they don’t, he said.
All three men had been employed at the same local business, Whitehead said. Mendez had been employed since October 2011 and had earned at least $24,900 in 2013, while Saaverda-Cruz had earned at least $20,000 during the same year, according to charging documents.
All three men were booked into the Purgatory Correctional Facility on Thursday, bail was set for Villalovos on two felony counts at $15,000, while Mendez and Saaverda-Cruz are being held on four felonies each with their bail standing at $30,000.
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