BOSTON (WWLP) – A man from Hyde Park pleaded guilty Monday in Boston federal court to using a stolen identity to fraudulently obtain pandemic relief funds and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, previously known as Food Stamps.
According to the Justice Department in Boston, 69-year-old Fernando Mateo Valenzuela is charged with three counts of mail fraud, two counts of aggravated identity theft, and two counts of misrepresentation of a Social Security number.
Valenzuela applied for and received $29,051 in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits and $7,230 in SNAP benefits by using the identity of a U.S. citizen.
Valenzuela is scheduled to be sentenced on May 24th. He faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 for each mail fraud charge. The charges of aggravated identity theft each provide for a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison, one of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charges of misrepresentation of a Social Security number each provide for a sentence of up to five years in prison, up to three of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
The investigation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigation’s Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force (DBFTF), a specialized investigative group comprising personnel from various state, local, and federal agencies with expertise in detecting, deterring, and disrupting organizations and individuals involved in various types of document, identity, and benefit fraud schemes.