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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 22, 2020

Dominican National Pleads Guilty to False Identity Crimes

BOSTON – A Dominican national pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to fraudulent use of a Social Security number.

Richard Zapata Suarez, 32, formerly of Lawrence, pleaded guilty to one count of false representation of a Social Security number. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock scheduled sentencing for Aug. 10, 2020.

On May 17, 2016, Zapata Suarez used the Social Security number of a U.S. citizen to submit a renewal application for a Massachusetts driver’s license under the victim’s name. In order to obtain the license, Zapata Suarez fraudulently provided various documents to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, including a Social Security card and birth certificate bearing the victim’s name.

The investigation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigation’s Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force (DBFTF), a specialized investigative group comprised of personnel from various state, local, 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 charge of falsely representing the Social Security number of another provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Michael Shea, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; and Phillip M. Coyne, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Boston Field Office; U.S. Secret Service; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Boston Field Office; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations, Boston; the U.S. Marshals Service; the Massachusetts State Police; and the Massachusetts Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam W. Deitch of Lelling’s Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
Identity Theft
Component(s): 
Updated June 23, 2020