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Press Release

Lawrence Woman Pleads Guilty in Conspiracy to Use Stolen Identities to Fraudulently Purchase Vehicles

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
All six defendants charged with conspiracy have now pleaded guilty

BOSTON – A Lawrence woman pleaded guilty yesterday to her role in a scheme to use the stolen identities of United States citizens from Puerto Rico to fraudulently purchase vehicles. 

Wanda Sanchez, 39, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and false representation of a Social Security number. U.S. District Court Judge Patti B. Saris scheduled sentencing for March 12, 2024. The defendant and multiple co-defendants were charged by criminal complaint in September 2020 and subsequently indicted by a federal grand jury in October 2020. All six defendants charged in the indictment have now pleaded guilty.

According to charging documents, in January 2019, Sanchez visited a Massachusetts car dealership to purchase a late-model vehicle and applied for 100% financing. In support of the application, Sanchez provided stolen biographical information of a real United States citizen, a fraudulent Puerto Rico driver’s license and a Social Security card in that identity as proof of identification.  

The charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The charge of false representation of a Social Security number provides 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 statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Michael J. Krol, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New England; John E. Mawn Jr., Interim Colonel of the Massachusetts State Police; and Brockton Police Chief Brenda Perez made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the Lowell, Lawrence, Methuen, Haverhill, Woburn and Dartmouth Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elianna J. Nuzum and Adam W. Deitch of the Criminal Division prosecuted the case.

The investigation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigation’s Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force (DBFTF), a specialized investigative group comprising 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.

Updated November 21, 2023

Financial Fraud
Identity Theft