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Press Release

Chelsea Woman Pleads Guilty to Using Counterfeit Identifications as Part of Account Takeover Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Defendant used fake identifications to impersonate over 120 customers of a wireless company and purchase cellular phones and accessories

BOSTON – A Chelsea woman pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston to conspiring to possess and use false identifications as part of an identity theft scheme to target a wireless company.

Perla Soto, 24, pleaded guilty to an Information charging conspiracy to possess and use more than five false identifications. U.S. District Court Judge Julie E. Kobick scheduled sentencing for Aug. 9, 2024. Soto was originally charged by criminal complaint in March 2024. 

From January 2022 through November 2023, Soto was captured on surveillance video conducting 20 transactions where she posed as customers of a wireless company. These transactions took place in retail stores throughout the United States. 

Soto used counterfeit driver’s licenses and identification bearing her photograph and the personal identifying information of customers of the wireless company in order to conduct transactions at these retail stores. While posing as the customer, Soto would purchase new phones and accessories on the customer’s account. Working as part of a larger group, Soto provided these fraudulently obtained phones and accessories to other coconspirators who would sell them on the black market. 

In total, over 120 customers of the wireless company had their personal information utilized in transactions totaling over $290,000 in fraudulently obtained phones and accessories.

The charge of conspiring to possess of five or more identification documents with intent to use them unlawfully provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release a fine of up to $250,000 and restitution. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; and John E. Mawn Jr., Interim Colonel of the Massachusetts State Police made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip A. Mallard of the Organized Crime & Gang Unit is prosecuting the case.

Updated May 15, 2024

Identity Theft