25 charged in federal document, benefit fraud sweep

BOSTON (WHDH) - Twenty-five individuals, many of whom were residing unlawfully in Massachusetts, appeared in federal court in Boston Thursday to face charges in connection with a federal sweep targeting offenders of document and benefit fraud, United States Attorney Andrew Lelling announced.

Many of the defendants have prior criminal histories, including a convicted murderer who escaped from prison in Puerto Rico in 1994 while serving a 40-year sentence, a Department of Justice press release said. Twenty-one of the alleged defendants are said to be unlawfully present in the United States.

The investigation, dubbed “Double Trouble,” was conducted by a Homeland Security Investigation’s Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force, comprised of various local, state and federal agencies with expertise in detecting, deterring and disrupting organizations and individuals involved in various types of document, identity, and benefit fraud schemes.

The task force is currently investigating suspected aliens, predominately from the Dominican Republic, who are believed to have obtained stolen identities of United States citizens living in Puerto Rico and who have used those identities to obtain documents and public benefits that they would not otherwise be eligible to receive, such as Registry of Motor Vehicles identity documents, Social Security numbers, Medicaid, unemployment and public housing subsidies, the press release said.

The alleged fraudsters are primarily Dominican nationals residing in Massachusetts, officials said. Their alleged victims are said to be predominantly American citizens in Puerto Rico. A comparison of public benefits records reportedly revealed the identities of numerous individuals who received public benefits in Puerto Rico and Massachusetts on or about the same date.

The following individuals have been charged with various federal crimes. With the exception of four, all of the defendants were said to be unlawfully present in the United States:

1) Alejandra Eulalia Baez Arias, 40, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence, was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of false representation of a Social Security number.

2) Saddan Rafael Bautista Diaz, 27, a Dominican national residing in Dorchester, was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of false representation of a Social Security number.

3) Kelvin Bautista Valdez, 31, Dominican national residing in Lynn, was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of false representation of a Social Security number.

4) Robert Crisologo Bobadilla Baez, 43, a Dominican national formerly residing in Mattapan, was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of false representation of a Social Security number. Bobadilla Baez is already in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

5) Fernando Cedeno Carpio, 34, a Dominican national residing in Houston, Texas, was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of false representation of a Social Security number.

6) Fausto Feliz Feliz, 39, a Dominican national residing in Malden, was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of false representation of a Social Security number.

7) Luis Alberto Fernandez Fernandez, 27, a Dominican national residing in Salem with legal permanent resident status, was charged with one count of false representation of a Social Security number.

8) Domingo Garcia Suero, 54, a Dominican national formerly residing in Haverhill, was indicted in May 2018 on five counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl; one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm; two counts of false representation of a Social Security number; and one count of aggravated identity theft. Garcia Suero is already in federal custody.

9) Santo Jesus Gonzalez Villar, 48, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence, was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of false representation of a Social Security number.

10) Ramon Lara Martinez, 45, a Dominican national residing in Hyde Park, was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of false representation of a Social Security number.

11) Jose Lopez Rosado, 53, formerly residing in Worcester County, was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of false representation of a Social Security number. According to court documents, the defendant escaped from prison in Puerto Rico in 1994 while serving a 40-year sentence for second degree murder. He is currently in state custody on unrelated charges. His true identity was not known until now.

12) Viterbo Enrique Minaya Melo, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence, was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of false representation of a Social Security number. Minaya Melo is currently in state custody.

13) Ulises Francisco Mota Carmona, 35, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence, was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of false representation of a Social Security number.

14) Yhoan Alexis Nivar Rodriguez, 29, a Dominican national residing in Mattapan with legal permanent resident status, was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of false representation of a Social Security number.

15) James Alfred Pena Guerrero, 30, a Dominican national residing in Dorchester, was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of false representation of a Social Security number.

16) Ramona Maribel Perez Peguero, 38, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence, was charged with one count of false representation of a Social Security number.

17) Fiumen Alexis Pimentel, 47, a Dominican national residing in Hyde Park, was charged with identity fraud.

18) Jose Mercedes Polanco Guerrero, 47, a Dominican national residing in Dorchester, was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of false representation of a Social Security number.

19) Joaquin Ruiz Mota, 47, a Dominican national residing in Dorchester, was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of misuse of a Social Security number.

20) Carmen Sanchez Garcia De Martinez, 64, a Dominican and/or Venezuelan national residing in Springfield, was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of false representation of a Social Security number.

21) Wanyer Manuel Soto Pimentel, 27, a Dominican national residing in Roslindale, was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of false representation of a Social Security number.

22) Edward Elias Villar Ortiz, 42, a Dominican national residing in Brockton, was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of false representation of a Social Security number.

23) John Doe, an individual residing in Roxbury whose true identity remains unknown, was
charged with one count of aggravated identity theft; one count of false representation of a Social Security number; and one count of theft of government funds.

24) John Doe, an individual residing in Lynn whose true identity remains unknown, was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of false representation of a Social Security number.

25) John Doe, an individual residing in Revere whose true identity remains unknown, was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of making a false statement in an application and use of a U.S. passport

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