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Lynn residents charged in federal document and benefit fraud scam

Two Lynn residents were among 25 people charged Thursday in U.S. District Court as a result of a federal sweep targeting offenders of document and benefit fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Kelvin Bautista Valdez, 31, a Dominican national, and John Doe, whose true identity is unknown, were charged with aggravated identity theft and false representation of a Social Security number.

Dubbed “Double Trouble,” the investigation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigation’s Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force. They are investigating suspected aliens, predominantly from the Dominican Republic, who are believed to have gotten stolen identities of U.S. citizens and obtained public benefits they would not otherwise be eligible to receive, such as Registry of Motor Vehicles identity documents, Social Security numbers, Medicaid, unemployment and public housing subsidies. A comparison of benefits records revealed the identities of numerous individuals who received benefits in Puerto Rico and Massachusetts.

Identity theft carries a mandatory two-year sentence, and false representation of a Social Security number provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison.

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