ICE Boston and US Attorney announce sentencings in major document and benefit fraud cases
by Foster LLP, on News
BOSTON – ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Boston and the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts announced the sentencing in federal court yesterday of several Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles clerks for their role in a scheme to produce false identification documents.
David Brimage, 46, of Boston, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin to eight months in prison and two years of supervised release. In October 2017, Brimage and co-conspirators Evelyn Medina, 56; Annette Gracia, 37, both of Boston; Kimberly Jordan, 33, of Randolph; and Bivian Yohanny Brea, 41, of Boston, agreed to plead guilty to one count of producing without lawful authority an identification document or a false identification document. All of the defendants have now been sentenced.
“Today’s sentencing highlights the HSI Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force’s continued vigilance against corruption schemes that damage the trust the public places in our government intuitions,” said Michael Shea, acting special agent in charge of HSI Boston. “This case is another excellent example of federal, state and local cooperation to combat this criminal enterprise.”
“The conduct in this case was egregious. We will always hold accountable those who violate the public trust,” said United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. “While these defendants tried to profit by thwarting legal safeguards they were entrusted with enforcing, the crime was more than that – the defendants engaged in a scheme that made U.S. identity documents – and accompanying benefits – available to illegal immigrants who were not entitled to them.”
In December 2017, Angel Miguel Beltre Tejada, 32, a Dominican national illegally residing in Jamaica Plain, was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft. Tejada will also be subject to deportation proceedings upon completion of any sentence imposed. In January 2018, Medina and Gracia were sentenced to 15 months in prison and one year and one day in prison, respectively. In February 2018, Jordan was also sentenced to eight months in prison and Brea was sentenced to six months of home confinement and three years of supervised release.
In October 2015, law enforcement received an anonymous letter alleging that a corrupt RMV employee was providing Massachusetts identifications and drivers’ licenses to individuals who were using false identifications. An investigation revealed that several Haymarket RMV clerks – Medina, Gracia, Jordan, and Brimage – were working with Brea and Tejada to fraudulently provide Massachusetts licenses and identification cards to illegal aliens for cash.
The scheme involved several steps. Tejada and Brea would obtain identification documents belonging to United States citizens in Puerto Rico and sell them to clients who were seeking legitimate identities in Massachusetts. These clients included illegal aliens, individuals who were previously deported, and an individual who admitted to previously facing drug charges. Tejada would receive several hundred dollars in cash each time he sold identification documents. Brea received up to $2,700 per identity for her role in the scheme, which included helping clients obtain the documents and facilitating their acquisition of Massachusetts identity documents.
Typically, Brea and the client brought the stolen identities to the Haymarket RMV, where Medina, Gracia, Jordan, and/or Brimage would accept hundreds of dollars in cash to illegally issue authentic RMV documents, including Massachusetts licenses and ID cards. The clerks also accepted bribes to use the RMV’s system to run queries, including Social Security number audits, to confirm that the identities the clients were stealing actually belonged to verifiable individuals.
HSI Acting SAC Shea, U.S. Attorney Lelling, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Office of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service William Gannon, and Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, made the announcement. HSI’s Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugenia M. Carris of Lelling’s Public Corruption & Special Prosecutions Unit prosecuted the cases.