BOSTON – A Dominican national residing in Lawrence pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston to Social Security fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Santo Jesus Gonzalez Villar, 49, pleaded guilty to one count of false representation of a Social Security number and one count of aggravated identity theft. U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for July 24, 2019. Gonzalez Villar was arrested and charged in a July 2018 federal law enforcement sweep of 25 individuals accused of document and benefit fraud.
Dubbed “Double Trouble,” the investigation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigation’s Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force (DBFTF), 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.
On June 20, 2018, Gonzalez Villar submitted an Asbestos Worker Application with the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards using the name and Social Security number of a U.S. citizen from Puerto Rico. He presented a Massachusetts driver’s license in the other person’s name bearing his photograph, a document he obtained fraudulently, as proof of his identity. Based on the application and supporting identity document, Gonzalez Villar was issued an Asbestos Worker Identification Card in the name of the U.S. citizen. Gonzalez Villar also used the name and Social Security number of a U.S. citizen from Puerto Rico to obtain driver’s licenses and to receive MassHealth benefits.
The charge of false representation of a Social Security number provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of aggravated identity theft provides for a mandatory sentence of two years in prison, one year 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; Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Phillip Coyne, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General; Scott Antolik, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Boston Field Division; Christina Scaringi, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, Northeast Regional Office; Michael Mikulka, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations; William B. Gannon, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service, Boston Field Office; Joseph W. Cronin, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; and Massachusetts State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump made the announcement. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Burzycki of Lelling’s Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.