WASHINGTON — A Dominican national pleaded guilty Feb. 16 for his role in a scheme to sell the identities of Puerto Rican U.S. citizens and corresponding identity documents to individuals illegally residing in the United States.
This guilty plea was announced by the following agency heads: Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Rosa E. Rodríguez-Vélez, District of Puerto Rico; Deputy Director Thomas D. Homan of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); and Inspector in Charge Craig Goldberg of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Chicago Division.
ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Chicago office and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service led this investigation with assistance from HSI San Juan, Puerto Rico. The HSI Assistant Attaché office in the Dominican Republic and International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center provided invaluable support, with assistance from ICE and U.S. Postal Inspection Service offices around the country.
Reynaldo Rodriguez-Canario, aka Reinaldo Rodriguez, aka Reynaldo Rodriguez, aka Reinaldo Canario, aka Jose Almonte, aka Jose Martinez, aka Matatan and and aka Ciego, 47, a citizen of the Dominican Republic residing in Puerto Rico, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Marcos O. Lopez of the District of Puerto Rico to one count of conspiracy to possess and transfer identification documents, one count of conspiracy to encourage an alien to reside in the United States for financial gain, and one count of aggravated identity theft.
According to admissions made in connection with his guilty plea, Rodriguez-Canario obtained identity documents of Puerto Rican U.S. citizens, usually consisting of birth certificates, social security cards and driver’s licenses, and shipped them to co-conspirators in the United States.
According to Rodriguez-Canario, his conspirators sold social security cards and corresponding Puerto Rican birth certificates to individuals illegally residing on the mainland United States for prices ranging from $500 to $1,300 per set.
The defendant admitted that the conspirators used money transfer services and the U.S. mail to complete these illicit transactions.
Rodriguez-Canario also admitted that he knew that the customers who purchased the identity documents intended to commit social security fraud and other criminal offenses.
Pursuant to his plea agreement, Rodriguez-Canario agreed to be removed to the Dominican Republic after he completes any sentence of incarceration and supervision imposed by the Court. Sentencing has been scheduled for June 22 before District Judge Juan M. Pérez-Giménez.
Trial Attorneys Frank Rangoussis of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Marianne Shelvey of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section are prosecuting this case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Puerto Rico is assisting in this matter.
Potential victims and the public may obtain information about the case at: www.justice.gov/criminal/vns/caseup/beltrerj.html.
Anyone who believes their identity may have been compromised in relation to this investigation or who may have information about particular crimes in this case should call the ICE toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE (1-866-347-2423) or use its online tip form at www.ice.gov/tipline.
Anyone who believes that they have been a victim of identity theft, or wants information about preventing identity theft, may obtain helpful information and complaint forms on various government websites including the Federal Trade Commission ID Theft Website at: www.ftc.gov/idtheft.