Puerto Rico is just a hop, skip and a jump from the Dominican Republic where today’s fraudster hails from. We’re not sure how the man, who lives in Lynn, Massachusetts, acquired the identities of his Puerto Rican victims, but he and 24 others got caught in a huge sweep by federal law enforcement officials who were intent on shutting down an illegal identity theft and Social Security fraud scheme.
The Dominican Republic fraudster, who currently resides just north of Boston, was part of an investigation dubbed “Double Trouble.” The operation, which was carried out by the Homeland Security Investigations’ Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force, involved a team of local, state and federal agencies. (They specialize in detecting, deterring and shutting down organizations or individuals who try to carry out document, identity and benefit fraud schemes.)
The Dominican national got into trouble in 2015 when he applied for a Massachusetts Identification Card. Instead of using his personal information, he used the name and Social Security number of a citizen from Puerto Rico. Evidently, he patiently waited at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) and when his number was called, he presented a Puerto Rican birth certificate and a Social Security card as proof of identity. (Apparently, he was a very patient person, figuring that government benefits come to fraudsters who wait.)
Unfortunately for the RMV, the fraudster’s deceptive tactics and stolen identity documents went unnoticed. The man from the Dominican Republic was issued an official ID in the name of a Puerto Rican citizen. The fraudster then used the ID card with the name and Social Security number of his Puerto Rican victim to receive MassHealth or Medicaid benefits. (Meanwhile, his victim in Puerto Rico had no idea that someone in Massachusetts was using his personal information to defraud the government.)
The 54-year-old fraudster living in Lynn, Massachusetts pleaded guilty to identity theft and Social Security fraud for participating in a document and benefit fraud scheme. When sentenced, today’s fraudster is looking at up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine just for Social Security fraud. He could receive an additional two-year mandatory prison sentence and another fine of $250,000 for aggravated identity theft. (Instead of getting voted off the island, it’s a good guess that this fraudster will be sent back or deported to his island of the Dominican Republic when sentenced later this summer.)
Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article, “Dominican National Pleads Guilty to Social Security Fraud and Identity Theft,” posted on Itemlive.com on May 9, 2019.
BOSTON — A Dominican national living in Lynn pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court to Social Security fraud and identity theft, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Nelson Bolivar, 54, was arrested and charged last summer in a federal law enforcement sweep of 25 individuals accused of document and benefit fraud.
Dubbed “Double Trouble,” the investigation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations’ Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force, comprised of 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.