BOSTON – A man traveling from the Dominican Republic under an assumed identity was sentenced yesterday for attempting to enter the United States using a false U.S. passport.
Felipe Batista, 48, previously residing in Brighton, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to 37 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Judge Gorton also ordered Batista to pay restitution in the amount of $190,281 to the U.S. Social Security Administration and MassHealth. Batista will be subject to deportation proceedings upon completion of his sentence.
On Sept. 16, 2021, Batista – originally charged as “John Doe” – admitted his true name and pleaded guilty to one count of misuse of a passport and one count of aggravated identity theft.
Batista arrived at Boston Logan International Airport on a commercial flight from the Dominican Republic on March 4, 2020. While attempting to pass inspection by Customs and Border Protection, he provided officers a U.S. passport bearing his image, but the name, date of birth and Social Security number of a different person.
An investigation revealed that Batista applied for the passport in November 2019 in Brighton. In the application, he fraudulently listed the personal identifying information of a United States citizen from Puerto Rico. He also attached a copy of the citizen’s birth certificate in support of the application. Batista’s use of the citizen’s information to fraudulently acquire and use the passport were only his latest efforts to misappropriate the citizen’s identity. Batista first assumed the citizen’s identity as early as 2001, and he was posing as the citizen since 2012 in order to obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefits from federal and state government programs.
United States attorney Rachael S. Rollins and Jonathan Davidson, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service, Boston Field Office made the announcement. Assistance was provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Office of Inspector General, U.S. Social Security Administration; Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and Bureau of Special Investigations, Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred M. Wyshak, III of Rollins’ Organized Crime & Gang Unit prosecuted the case.