SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A man from the Dominican Republic living in Springfield was arrested on Friday for allegedly using an American citizen’s identity to get Social Security benefits.
According to acting U.S. Attorney William Weinreb of the District of Massachusetts, 48-year-old Bartolo Ramirez was charged with falsely representing a Social Security number and theft of public money.
Ramirez was caught by authorities in 1990 when he came to the United States from the Dominican Republic as a stowaway, according to the criminal complaint. He was then allowed to leave the U.S. voluntarily in 1993.
In 2007, the complaint stated that Ramirez returned and settled in Springfield, where he allegedly started to use a Social Security card and Massachusetts ID card from an American citizen. The following year, he applied for Social Security disability benefits, and received more than $100,000 in benefits.
Then, in 2012, Ramirez used that American citizen’s name when he was arrested in Massachusetts in an unrelated case, the compliant stated.
Weinreb said Ramirez faces five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss, for the Social Security charge. For the theft of public money charge, he faces 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss.
Ramirez is being held pending a detention and probable cause hearing on January 25th.
NOTE: Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb; Scott Antolik, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Boston Field Division; Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Phillip Coyne, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations; William Squires, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigation, Northeast Field Office; and Suzanne M. Bump, State Auditor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, made the announcement on Friday. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Landry of Weinreb’s Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.