Nilda Medina-Veguilla was born and raised in Puerto Rico where she lived a life of family, friends and making money. Literally. In 2005, Medina-Veguilla was charged with counterfeiting and illegal appropriation. Which means she was taking something that wasn’t hers for her own use. Outside of court, we call that stealing. And it is what Medina-Veguilla did again to get herself out of her predicament. She stole an identity. Her friend’s identity without her knowledge or consent. Heck, if you can’t steal your friend’s identity, what good are they? By the time the courts issued an arrest warrant in 2008, Medina-Veguilla had disappeared. Not to be found for twenty-two years.
Medina- Veguilla fled to the United States mainland, using her friend’s stolen identity. But she didn’t go into hiding. It didn’t appear that she was a fraudster living in the shadows either. Medina-Veguilla lived a very robust life under her friend’s name. In the time that she had disappeared in 2008, Medina-Veguilla was married and divorced, employed, and filed taxes using a stolen identity. She even applied for and received SNAP benefits. That’s right. While living the life of a fraudster, Medina-Veguilla fraudulently obtained more than $43,000 in SNAP benefits.
Medina-Veguilla even had the experience of getting arrested! But not for the stolen SNAP benefits! In February of 2021, Medina-Veguilla applied for a U.S. passport using the stolen identity, date of birth, Social Security number, and birth certificate. Medina-Veguilla was final exposed when Consular Affairs discovered that the victim had been issued a U.S. passport several years before Medina-Veguilla’s application. A life of illegal appropriation; stopped. One September 9, 2023, Medina-Veguilla pleaded guilty and now faces 10 years in prison.
Shout out to the Consular Affairs in this investigation.
Today’s Fraud of The Day is based on article “Tampa Woman Pleads Guilty To Identity Theft, Food Stamp Fraud Charges” published by Tampa Free Press on September 9, 2023
A Tampa woman has pleaded guilty to making false statements on an application for a United States passport, aggravated identity theft, and theft of government property.
Nilda Medina-Veguilla, 38, Tampa, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a minimum mandatory penalty of 2 years’ imprisonment. Medina-Veguilla has also agreed to forfeit the proceeds of the charged criminal conduct.