Man arrested for identity theft after using fake Social number

A local man was arrested on identity theft charges Tuesday after the rightful owner of a Social Security number he had allegedly obtained and used fraudulently sought to claim benefits.
Alex M. Canas, 37, of Basalt, was advised Wednesday that he faces a class 4 felony count of identity theft. He is being held on a $2,500 bond and also has been placed on an immigration hold. Canas turned himself in and is cooperating with police, according to department spokeswoman Blair Weyer.
The case began when a 47-year-old woman in Mesa, Ariz. applied for Social Security benefits because she was unable to work due to medical issues. Her claim was denied because the government found that her Social Security number was attached to wages being earned in Aspen, at the Hickory House restaurant.
“[The victim] denied ever working in Colorado,” according to an arrest warrant affidavit written by Aspen police detective Walter Chi.
She made a report to Mesa police last month, who contacted authorities in Aspen. Police here got in touch with the restaurant staff, who determined that the Social Security number in question was used by Canas on an I-9 form he filled out when he began working there a few years ago.
Canas came in for an interview with police Tuesday, and through an interpreter, said he obtained falsified documents allowing him to work, including the Social Security number, for $150 in MacArthur Park in Los Angeles, a notorious trading post for fake IDs. He told police he was in the country legally at one time about six years ago, but that authorization had expired, according to the affidavit.
The victim was still unable to collect Social Security benefits when she was interviewed by Aspen police, according to Chi’s affidavit.
Canas will be back in court next month.

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