BOSTON – A Lawrence man pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to misusing a Social Security number to fraudulently obtain a Massachusetts ID and driver’s license as well as MassHealth benefits.
Manuel Alejandro Pujols Diaz, 37, pleaded guilty to one count of false representation of a Social Security number and one count of aggravated identity theft. U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton scheduled sentencing for Sept. 21, 2022. Pujols was indicted in September 2021.
Pujols used the name and Social Security number of another individual to submit fraudulent applications to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles in July 2016, August 2016 and September 2016. As a result, Pujols obtained a Massachusetts ID and driver’s license under the victim’s identity as well as MassHealth benefits.
The charge of false representation of a Social Security number provides for a sentence of up to 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, which must run consecutive to any other sentence of incarceration imposed, up to one year of supervised release and a fine of up to $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.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Matthew Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge for the Homeland Security Investigations’ New England Field Office; and Joe Harris, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General, made the announcement today. The investigation was conducted by Homeland Security’s Investigation’s Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force (DBFTF), a specialized field investigative group comprised of personnel from various local, state, and federal agencies with expertise in detecting, deterring, and disrupting organizations and individuals involved in various types of document, identity, and benefit fraud schemes. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugenia M. Carris, Deputy Chief of Rollins’ Public Corruption & Special Prosecutions Unit, is prosecuting the case.