BOSTON (SHNS) – The four Registry of Motor Vehicles clerks arrested and charged Wednesday in a federal aggravated identity theft case are on unpaid administrative leave as their cases and an administrative review are pending, the RMV said.
Authorities allege that four employees at the registry’s Haymarket branch — Evelyn Medina, 56, of Boston; Annette Gracia, 37, of Boston; Kimberly Jordan, 33, of Randolph; David Brimage, 46, of Boston — accepted cash to use stolen identities to illegally issue authentic registry documents, including driver’s licenses and ID cards.
The RMV clerks allegedly conspired with Bivian Yohanny Brea, 41, of Boston, and Rafael Bonano, 32, also known as “Flako,” in operating the fraudulent scheme. The Department of Justice claims that Bonano sold Puerto Rican birth certificates and U.S. Social Security cards to Brea for about $900. Brea then allegedly sold the stolen identities for more than $2,000 to clients seeking legitimate identities in Massachusetts.
Federal prosecutors also charge that the four RMV clerks accepted cash payments to use the RMV’s system to check Social Security numbers and confirm the identities being stolen actually belonged to verifiable individuals.
“The RMV finds the alleged criminal and fraudulent actions of these individuals to be troubling and intolerable and has also taken immediate steps to suspend the credentials allegedly fraudulently obtained as part of this enterprise,” RMV Registrar Erin Deveney said in a statement.
Deveney said the four clerks “have been placed on administrative leave without pay pending further administrative review and action, subject to their collective bargaining agreement.”
The RMV also notified the Department of Transitional Assistance and MassHealth to inform them about the arrests so those agencies can conduct their own investigations into whether any of the phony identifications were used to fraudulently apply for state benefits or services.
A 30-page affidavit details the alleged scheme and how the four clerks interacted with their alleged conspirators and each other. Homeland Security Special Agent Anthony Russo Jr. describes an investigation that included cooperation from a confidential informant and cooperating defendant, and several recorded or monitored undercover meetings and phone calls involving the informant.
The investigation into the RMV clerks began in October 2015 when Massachusetts State Police received an anonymous letter claiming a corrupt RMV employee — it specifically named Medina — was providing stolen IDs and licenses to people seeking fake identifications.
When State Police looked into Medina’s work at the Haymarket RMV, investigators found that Medina had used the RMV computer system to run an “abnormal” number of Social Security number checks “not consistent with the average number of queries made by RMV clerks,” the affidavit said.
“During the week of June 8-12, 2015, there were 80 instances of SSN queries with no transaction activity associated with them. During the month of February 2016, there were 208 instances of SSN queries with no transaction activity associated with them,” Russo wrote in the affidavit. “Of the 208 queries, 13 people are deceased and 9 are duplicates.”
Further investigation revealed that the four Haymarket RMV clerks were allegedly working with Brea and Flako to provide licenses and identification cards to illegal aliens for cash.
According to federal prosecutors, an aggravated identity theft charge provides for a mandatory minimum of two years in prison.