WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – A decades-long ordeal ruined a Texas man, but his life might start to get better now that the convicted sex offender in Kansas who stole his identity has pleaded guilty to misusing a Social Security number.
After years of fighting, Marcus Calvillo almost gave up on trying to clear his name. Then he read an Associated Press story about a case in 2013 in which a Houston teacher's entire identity was stolen. Calvillo contacted the federal prosecutor in Wichita who was involved in that case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson, hoping the official might help him as well.
"I don't know of a case where the theft of an identity had a more devastating impact than this one," Anderson said of Calvillo's plight.
The guilty plea Monday from Fernando Neave-Ceniceros, a 41-year-old convicted child sex offender and Mexican national, will help untangle the impostor's long criminal history and begin to repair the havoc left behind for Calvillo, the man whose identity he assumed.
"Now we have a court on-the-record admission of who he really is," Anderson said after the hearing.
Neave-Ceniceros admitted in his plea deal in U.S. District Court in Wichita to unlawfully using Calvillo's Social Security number to hide his own identity and lack of legal status in the United States. He will be sentenced July 25. His attorney, David Freund, declined to comment.
The defendant's criminal record — including convictions for indecent liberties with a child, bribery, drug offenses and other charges — became wrongly linked to Calvillo when the impostor was first fingerprinted as a teenager using the false identity.
Calvillo, now 46 and living in Grand Prairie, Texas, went public with his ordeal in October, telling the AP at the time that his "whole life has been put on hold because of this person, and it has gotten worse and worse and worse."
He recalled his confusion when he got fired from his job as a cable installer, being told only, "You know what you did."
He was in his early 20s when he learned his identity had been hijacked. His marriage fell apart. He couldn't find or keep a job, and fell behind on bills and child support.
Calvillo, who prosecutors say has no criminal record, began rebuilding his life after the government found him an alternative Social Security number. Now self-employed, he has a home services business that power washes houses.
Once Neave-Ceniceros is sentenced, Anderson said he can begin clearing Calvillo's name in each county where the impostor's seven felony convictions for past crimes took place.
Under the plea agreement, Neave-Ceniceros would get a year and a day to be served concurrently with a state prison sentence he is already serving. He then will likely be deported.