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50 Arrested in Identity Fraud Ring

An undercover investigation by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has led to the arrest of fifty individuals for their involvement in a massive identity theft ring that sold hundreds of U.S. identities on the black market. The fraud ring obtained legitimate identity documents that belonged to citizens from Puerto Rico which they then sold to undocumented immigrants and others living in the United States.

The fraud ring fraudulently obtained or purchased the legitimate identities of Puerto Rican citizens, paying them for their birth certificates, Social Security numbers and driver’s licenses. Several fraud ring members were arrested in Puerto Rico where they were taking orders on identity documents coming from ‘brokers’ selling the identities in 15 different states. The fraud ring had been buying and selling identity documents since at least 2009.

The fraud ring member placing the order would give covert messages to convey the sex and age of the desired identity and the matching identity documents would be sent via express mail. The fraud ring specialized in buying or stealing identities and finding buyers, but the stolen identities where then used by the buyer to apply for a driver’s license or commit financial fraud.

Identity theft has been a major concern in Puerto Rico and thousands of Puerto Ricans reported identity fraud problems in 2010. It became such an issue that the government annulled old birth certificates while issuing new ones with increased security features in 2010.


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