A Gresham man who according to The Oregonian assumed the identity of a dead child over 30 years ago, has not only been working under the child’s name, but even collected double in retirement benefits. Court records show the man who is 70 now, Robert Lizarraga, was able to obtain a Social Security number in the child’s name and has been using it as his own since 1991. The Assistant U.S. Attorney, Rachel Sowray, mentioned the IRS even sent him CARES Act checks under not only his real identity but the deceased child’s identity as well.
Apparently, Lizarraga was able to obtain the deceased child’s name simply by going to a courthouse and pulling it from court records alongside the child’s birthdate. There’s no indication at this time he had any connection to the child at this time. Lizarraga plead guilty in June to the theft of government funds and making a false statement. To date the man who frauded the system has repaid the Social Security Administration $12,509.60 in retirement benefits that he collected over the years, in the child’s name. The money was collected from 2017 through 2020. He also repaid the IRS a $1,200 check.
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Lizarraga from a wheelchair as he suffers from blood clots in his leg, did apologize to the court. “I’ve done everything I can to get things right. … I apologize to the courts and to everybody I affected,” he told U.S. District Judge Karin J. Immergut.