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Prosecutors unable to confirm ID of man accused of ID theft

September 27, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Federal prosecutors have been unable to confirm the identity of an Oregon man accused of presenting someone else’s birth certificate and driver’s license to obtain a U.S. passport.

The man identified in federal court in Portland as “John Doe” won release from jail Wednesday as he awaits trial on charges of aggravated identity theft and making false statements in a passport application, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported .

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Kerin objected to the man’s release, saying his real name hasn’t been verified.

“He could be wanted in four states for all we know,” Kerin told the judge.

Defense lawyer Conor Huseby told the court that he was hesitant to give his client’s name, citing the man’s Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. His client has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

“We can’t prove the government’s case for them,” Huseby said.

Court documents also identify the man under the alias Augustin Contreras, which he hasn’t used in at least a decade, according to court testimony. He was booked into a Multnomah County jail as 41-year-old Augustin Contreras.

His long-term girlfriend gave federal authorities the name Celilio Beltran-Leon, Kerin said.

“I don’t have anything that suggests he’s that person,” Kerin said.

Huseby agreed to provide pretrial release officers with the man’s birth certificate or another document under seal, meaning prosecutors won’t be able to see it.

“I just can’t turn it over to the government, which can use it in trial,” Huseby said.

The judge ordered the man’s release, noting she was convinced he would not flee before trial and there was not an allegation that he wanted a passport for the purpose of another crime.

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Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com

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