WICHITA, Kan. – An illegal immigrant accused of assuming a Texas teacher's persona has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Benita Cardona-Gonzalez pleaded guilty in January to possessing fraudulent identification documents in a deal with prosecutors. The Mexican national has been living in Topeka.
Monday's sentencing was the first time Candida Gutierrez, the Houston elementary school teacher who was the victim in the case, saw Cardona-Gonzalez. The case put a face on the growing crime of "total identity theft" in the U.S.
Gutierrez says she wanted her identity thief to see the person who paid the price for her living her dream. She says Cardona-Gonzalez's dream was her nightmare.
For 12 years, Cardona-Gonzalez used Gutierrez's identity to get a job, credit, a mortgage, food stamps and medical care.