CEDAR RAPIDS – A man who made a false statement to a U.S. Postal Inspector conducting a fraud investigation was sentenced today to more than one year in federal prison.
Raymond Cortez, age 65, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received the prison term after a December 11, 2012, jury verdict finding him guilty of one count of making a material false statement in a matter within the jurisdiction of the United States.
Evidence at trial showed that, on November 20, 2007, Cortez lied to a U.S. Postal Inspector during an interview. The Postal Inspector asked Cortez whether his vehicle, a black Hummer, was involved in a chase of a young man the month prior on First Avenue in Cedar Rapids. Cortez falsely denied knowing anything about the chase. The evidence at trial showed Cortez was the driver of the Hummer during the chase. The chase was being investigated because the occupants of the Hummer were attempting to retrieve a $3,323.00 federal student aid check from the young man. Some of the occupants of the Hummer had fraudulently obtained the check as part of a scheme to defraud the United States out of student loan funds.
Cortez was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade. Cortez was sentenced to twenty-one months’ imprisonment to be followed by three years’ supervised release. A special assessment of $100 was also imposed. There is no parole in the federal system.
At the sentencing hearing, Chief Judge Reade said Cortez had “no respect for the law.” Judge Reade enhanced Cortez’s sentence for perjuring himself during his testimony at trial. Regarding Cortez’s trial testimony, Judge Reade added Cortez had “no respect for the oath.”
Cortez was released on the bond previously set and is to surrender to the United States Marshal on April 15, 2013.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Peter Deegan and was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the United States Department of Education.