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Document and Benefit Fraud

2 arrested on aggravated identity theft charges

Pair allegedly filed tax returns using stolen IDs

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested a man and woman from Providence Oct. 15 on charges of aggravated identity theft, theft of government property, forging endorsements on treasury checks and money laundering.

Juliana Martins, 44, and Jairo Morales, 28, allegedly used the stolen personal identifying information of others as part of a scheme to fraudulently obtain federal tax returns.

According to the investigation, the defendants allegedly participated in a scheme to steal the identities of approximately 40 individuals, nearly all of whom appear to live in Puerto Rico, including their names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth. They used the information to fraudulently obtain federal tax checks totaling more than $277,300. The investigation revealed that the checks were deposited into various bank accounts and where cash was withdrawn in an attempt to conceal the scheme.

According to information presented to the court, the investigation began in January 2013 when U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Logan International Airport in Boston conducted a routine inspection of Morales’ laptop computer as he returned to the United States from the Dominican Republic.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.