Feds nab six for iden­tity theft of Puerto Ri­cans

Five sus­pected il­le­gal im­mi­grants among those charged

Boston Herald - - NEWS - By SEAN PHILIP COTTER

Five sus­pected il­le­gal im­mi­grants and an­other sus­pect in the U.S. legally stole the iden­ti­ties of Amer­i­can ci­ti­zens, the feds say, in or­der to get gov­ern­ment ben­e­fits — part of what law en­force­ment of­fi­cials say is a prob­lem, es­pe­cially in Lawrence.

“These were tar­geted in­ves­ti­ga­tions, aimed specif­i­cally at iden­ti­fy­ing peo­ple who have stolen the iden­ti­ties of oth­ers,” U.S. At­tor­ney An­drew E. Lelling in Bos­ton said yes­ter­day in an­nounc­ing the prose­cu­tions.

“And the con­tin­ued em­pha­sis on the City of Lawrence is no co­in­ci­dence: with the help of state and lo­cal part­ners, we will con­tinue tar­get­ing drug, gun, and im­mi­gra­tion-re­lated crime in that city un­til the crime rate there drops sub­stan­tially,” he said. “This has been, and will con­tinue to be, a top pri­or­ity of my of­fice.”

The six peo­ple ar­rested by ICE each face one charge of mis­use of a So­cial Se­cu­rity num­ber and one count of ag­gra­vated iden­tity theft.

The feds say they used the IDs stolen from Puerto Ri­cans to try — and some­times suc­ceed — to get doc­u­ments and ben­e­fits they other­wise could not, such as Med­i­caid, un­em­ploy­ment and pub­lic-hous­ing cash.

The feds ar­rested two peo­ple whose true iden­ti­ties re­main un­known, as well as Do­mini­can na­tion­als Lenin Al­fredo Am­paro, 44, Julissa Ra­nee Acosta Es­tevez, 45, An­dres Aridio Con­tr­era Diaz, 30, and Raul Alexan­der Guer­rero-Sanchez, 35.

Con­tr­era Diaz has re­ceived ap­prox­i­mately $6,117 in un­em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance in the name of the stolen iden­tity — which is of a per­son still alive and liv­ing in Puerto Rico, the feds said. The oth­ers mainly used the iden­ti­ties of Puerto Ri­cans who have died, of­fi­cials said.

Acosta Es­tevez is charged with re­ceiv­ing $6,500 in un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits.

Au­thor­i­ties say Al­fredo Am­paro is the only one of four known peo­ple who was in the coun­try legally, but he has an ex­ten­sive crim­i­nal his­tory.

Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera’s of­fice didn’t re­spond to a mes­sage seek­ing com­ment about Lelling’s fo­cus on his city.

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