BOSTON – An undocumented immigrant who refuses to disclose his true identity was sentenced today in federal court in Boston in connection with using another person’s identity for over 40 years and stealing public funds under the victim’s identity.
“John Doe” was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to three years in prison and three years of supervised release. One of the conditions of supervision is that Doe disclose his true identity to his Probation Officer. Doe also was ordered to pay the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) $16,762 in restitution. In June 2019, Doe was convicted by a federal jury of aggravated identity theft, using a passport obtained through false statements, stealing public funds and misuse of a Social Security number.
Doe has admitted to being in the United States for 50 years. Evidence at trial indicated that he is Dominican, but he refused to disclose his identity or nationality.
At some point prior to 1975, Doe obtained the birth certificate of a U.S. citizen from Puerto Rico. Initially Doe did not have the victim’s Social Security number, but subsequently created or obtained a counterfeit Social Security card bearing the name of the victim with a non-matching Social Security number assigned to a different person from Puerto Rico.
From 1975 to 1994, Doe used the counterfeit Social Security card to find employment, first in New York and later in Boston.
In 1994, Doe received a letter from the IRS notifying him that the name on his Social Security card did not match the Social Security number he was using, and that he needed to go to a local Social Security Administration (SSA) office to resolve the discrepancy. Doe took the letter to an SSA office in Boston, where he deceived an SSA employee into believing that he was really the victim and that he had forgotten his true Social Security number. Doe gave the employee the name, date of birth, place of birth, and parents’ names on the victim’s birth certificate without disclosing that the birth certificate was not Doe’s. The employee entered this biographical information into the SSA computer, which returned a match for the victim’s true Social Security number. Through this deception, Doe was able to obtain a Social Security card bearing the victim’s true name and true Social Security Number.
Doe used this unlawfully obtained Social Security card for the next 18 years, until the victim’s death in Puerto Rico in 2012. At that point, SSA learned that someone in Massachusetts was using a deceased person’s Social Security number and began a fraud investigation.