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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 9, 2020

Dominican National Pleads Guilty to Identity Theft Charges

BOSTON – A Dominican national pleaded guilty today in connection with using the identity of a U.S. citizen.

Roberto Melo Guerrero, 39, a Dominican national who formerly resided in Lawrence, pleaded guilty to one count of false representation of a Social Security number and one count of making a false statement relating to a health care benefit program. U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper scheduled sentencing for Sept. 9, 2020. Melo Guerrero was arrested in December 2019 and has been detained since that time.

Melo Guerrero used the name and identifiers of a U.S. citizen for at least 15 years, including to obtain a Massachusetts driver’s license and to apply for MassHealth benefits.  MassHealth then provided benefits valued at $18,505 to Melo Guerrero. In addition, on multiple occasions, Melo Guerrero was arrested and charged in Massachusetts with drug trafficking offenses under the name of this U.S. citizen.

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 charges of false representation of a Social Security number and false statement relating to a health care benefit program provide for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $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 and Michael Shea, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service; U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General; Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Boston Field Office; U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Inspector General; Massachusetts State Police; HSI Attaché in the Dominican Republic; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Abely, Deputy Chief of Lelling’s Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
Identity Theft
Component(s): 
Updated July 9, 2020