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

Friday, April 19, 2013

New Bedford Man Convicted Of Passport Fraud

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BOSTON – Following a jury trial, a New Bedford man was convicted of passport fraud.

John Doe a/k/a Jose L. Cosme was convicted of two counts of passport fraud. United States District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock scheduled sentencing for July 18, 2013.

On January 5, 2008, the defendant submitted an application for a U.S. passport at the U.S. Postal Office in New Bedford, representing himself as Jose L. Cosme, born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. The defendant also claimed that his date of birth, social security number, and parents were those that in reality pertained to the true Jose L. Cosme. The defendant affixed his photograph to the application and provided other information required, including his mailing and residential address, which he reported as a New Bedford address. As proof of U.S. citizenship and identity, the defendant provided a birth certificate issued by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and a Massachusetts identification card, both in the name of Jose. L. Cosme. The defendant swore to the truth of the statements made in the application before a U.S. Postal Clerk. In due course, the U.S. State Department approved the application and issued a passport to the defendant in the name of Jose L. Cosme.

On May 12, 2012, after arriving at Logan International Airport on a flight from the Dominican Republic, the defendant traveling under the name of Jose L. Cosme attempted to use the issued passport and was referred by a U.S. Customs & Border Protection Officer to secondary admissibility inspection. During questioning, the defendant was unable to provide basic biographical information about his life in Puerto Rico and information regarding his family. A subsequent investigation by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security revealed that the defendant assumed the identity of the true Jose L. Cosme.

The statutory maximum penalty is 10 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; William Wommack, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Boston Field Office; and Kevin Weeks, Director of Field Operations of U.S. Customs & Border Protection, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert E. Richardson and Carlos A. Lopez of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.

Updated December 15, 2014