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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Worcester Man Pleads Guilty to Fraud and Identity Theft

BOSTON – A Worcester man pleaded guilty today in federal court in Worcester to fraud and identity theft charges arising from unlawfully using the identity of a disabled Medicare beneficiary for 17 years.

Jose Agosto, 51, pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud, four counts of misusing a Social Security number, three counts of making false statements relating to health care services, and five counts of aggravated identity theft. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled sentencing for April 25, 2018. Agosto was charged on Aug. 9, 2017, and has been in custody since.

Agosto admitted that he began living under the name of another individual in order to avoid the consequences of an arrest warrant, and that he used the victim’s name and other personal identifying information to obtain replacement Social Security cards, driver’s licenses and bank accounts. Agosto also admitted to seeking medical treatment under the victim’s name and that doing so caused medical providers to submit more than $148,000 in claims to Medicare, despite the fact that Agosto was not a Medicare beneficiary. In addition, Agosto executed promissory notes under the victim’s name and then defaulted on those notes. Agosto acknowledged that by using the victim’s identity, Agosto threatened the victim’s continued receipt of Social Security and Medicare benefits as well as the victim’s credit rating.

Furthermore, Agosto admitted to leaving threatening voice mails in an effort to intimidate the victim and his family. In these voice mails, Agosto threatened to kill various members of the victim’s family and warned of a “massacre.” One such statement made by Agosto was: “I’m going to start killing all of your family one-by-one. I’ll start killing your mother, I’ll kill your sister, and then the last one’s going to be you.”  

Each wire fraud count provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. The charges of Social Security fraud and making false statements provide for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. The charge of aggravated identity theft provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison, up to 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; Scott Antolik, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Boston Field Division; Philip Coyne, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations; and Christina Scaringi, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General, Northeast Regional Office, made the announcement today. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, and the Massachusetts Bureau of Special Investigations provided assistance with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Abely of Lelling’s Worcester Branch Office is prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
Identity Theft
Component(s): 
Updated January 31, 2018