Undocumented immigrant steals dead vet's ID

Posted at 5:34 PM, May 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-28 12:03:20-04

An undocumented immigrant has been using the identity of a dead man for the past four years to get benefits of nearly $30,000.

ABC15 first exposed the scheme earlier this week surrounding Rene Ortiz Quintana after court records surfaced.

Arizona authorities allege Quintana, 69, has been posing as Ruben J. Gallardo for several years.

ABC15 tracked down Gallardo’s family who had no idea of the scam until we informed them.

"He was my father, he is a Vietnam veteran, he was my dad,” said Adam Gallardo, who spoke from his Long Island, New York home.

The real Ruben J. Gallardo served two tours of duty in the Army in the mid to late 1960’s.

Quintana admitted to living in the United States, illegally, for the past 50 years.

"I'm upset with this guy,” said Adam Gallardo.

“They couldn't catch it right at the beginning? For four years some guy has been using his identity, and the VA knows my father has passed," added Gallardo.

Quintana was able to fool a lot of people.

Records show he has an Arizona ID card, government health coverage, as well as VA and Social Security benefits.

The real slap in the face came in the irony of Adam’s struggle with the VA.

Adam is an Army veteran who is at odds with the VA, which refused to give him his benefits.

"They are giving me the runaround at the VA, I am trying to collect on service related injuries that happened to me while I was in the Army,” said Gallardo.

Now the big question: how did this all happen?

Federal authorities tell ABC15, the investigation is open and commenting could jeopardize the case and violate privacy laws.

Ruben J. Gallardo was murdered in 1994 in San Jose, California, and his family says he has no connection to the man posing as him.

Quintana has been indicted by a grand jury.

A court date has not yet been set.