Carmen Beltre of Lawrence, Massachusetts disappeared in mid January following the release of information that she was one of about fifty people being charged in a Federal Identity Fraud Scheme. It is alleged that Beltre and others accessed and distributed false documents such as birth certificates and Social Security cards. Last summer Beltre was arrested on several Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Crimes including Operating with a Suspended License, Operating Uninsured and Attaching Plates. During the booking process Beltre was found in possession of various Social Security numbers, immigration papers and a “suspicious” list of names. Beltre claimed that she worked for the government and that the information found in her possession was job related. Authorities turned this information over to the Essex County District Attorney for investigation and charges were filed. Beltre was held at the Wilmington, Massachusetts Police Department awaiting arraignment in the Federal District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
While the article is silent as to what crime Beltre is charged with I would imagine that she is accused of violating 18 U.S.C. 1028(a)(7) which states that it is a crime for anyone to knowingly transfer, possess or use someone else’s identification with the intent to commit an act that constitutes a violation of Federal or State law. The punishment for a conviction varies depending on the circumstances in which the fraud was committed. For instance, if the identity fraud implicated drug trafficking activities then the statute authorizes a twenty year prison sentence. If it involves terrorism then a thirty year sentence can be imposed. In Beltre’s case the accusation is unclear however if drugs are not involved I would imagine that the maximum sentence is fifteen years. The statute in this situation might permit a sentence of probation making it necessary that Beltre’s Massachusetts Federal Criminal Lawyer be experienced in these matters. Beltre’s sentence in large part will depend on the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Factors that will come into play are her age, criminal record, involvement in the Identity Fraud Scheme, level of obstruction with the investigation, ultimate cooperation and extent of her acceptance of responsibility. Or, perhaps this is the type of case that will be tried before a jury.
One more thing came to mind when I first read this article. As is the case here, a tremendous number of Massachusetts Criminal Cases start with Motor Vehicle Stops. Beltre’s arrest for the Motor Vehicle Offenses permitted the officers to search her incident to her arrest. Under Massachusetts and Federal law they were also permitted to conduct a limited search of her car. Suppressing these searches would be extremely unlikely given the circumstances addressed in this article. I am always amazed at just how often people involved in major crimes commit minor motor vehicle infractions that precipitate Searches and Seizures. This stupidity at times makes the job of law enforcement officials ridiculously easy.
The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman is committed to defending the accused. We defend Identity Fraud Cases in Massachusetts in both state court and federal court. You can reach us by calling 617-263-6800. You can also email us with any questions about your case. We want to work with you on your defense right now.