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PRESS RELEASE
June 15, 2004

United States Department of Justice
Michael J. Sullivan
U.S. Attorney
District of Massachusetts

United States Attorney's Office
John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse
1 Courthouse Way, Suite 9200
Boston, MA 02210
Press Office: (617) 748-3139

SAUGUS COUPLE INDICTED FOR IDENTITY THEFT

Boston, MA... A Saugus husband and wife were arrested yesterday and charged in federal court with identity theft, bank fraud, credit card fraud and various other federal offenses.

United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan; Kenneth R. Jones, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in New England; Gary Mathison, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Inspector General in New England, Robin M. Avers; Special Agent in Charge of Immigration and Customs and Enforcement in New England; Leo Sullivan, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Social Security Administration's Office of Inspector General in New England; James MacKay, Chief of the Saugus Police Department; Kathleen O'Toole, Commissioner of the Boston Police Department; and Leo A. Sacco, Chief of the Medford Police Department, announced today that ITZA RUIZ, a/k/a Itza Galvin Santos, age 39, and HERIBERTO RUIZ, age 47, of 226 Essex Street, Saugus, Massachusetts, were arrested on an indictment unsealed in federal court yesterday, charging them with identity theft, bank fraud, credit card fraud and making false statements in documents required by federal immigration law. The twenty-three count indictment also charges ITZA RUIZ with student financial aid fraud, making false statements in loan applications, making false statements and entries in an INS Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9, and misrepresentation of a social security account number. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of the couple's marital home.

The indictment alleges that over a three year period, ITZA RUIZ stole the name and personal identifiers of a woman using that identity to purchase a $318,250 mortgage for her Saugus home. It is also alleged that ITZA RUIZ used the stolen identity to obtain student financial aid PELL grants and supplemental educational opportunity grants to attend college, and obtained employment at a time when she was not a legal permanent U.S. resident. It is alleged that RUIZ also obtained several credit cards and personal loans using the stolen identity.

The indictment further alleges that HERIBERTO RUIZ aided and abetted ITZA RUIZ in committing these offenses, including personally applying for, and co-signing, the mortgage loan for their Saugus home.

Additionally, the indictment alleges that when ITZA RUIZ applied for U.S. citizenship, ITZA RUIZ and HERIBERTO RUIZ, her sponsor, provided false information upon which the Immigration and Naturalization Service relied in issuing ITZA RUIZ a green card.

Following their arrests yesterday, the defendants appeared in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert B. Collings and were each released on a $25,000 unsecured bond. ITZA RUIZ and HERIBERTO RUIZ face up to 30 years' imprisonment and a fine of $1 million if convicted of the bank fraud charges, 15 years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine on each count of credit card fraud and identity theft, and 10 years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine on each count of making false statements in documents required by federal immigration law. ITZA RUIZ also faces up to 5 years' imprisonment and a $20,000 fine on each count of student financial aid fraud, 30 years' imprisonment and a $1 million fine on each count of making false statements on a loan application, and 5 years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine on each count of making false statements and entries on an INS Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 and misrepresentation of a social security account number. Following their release from prison, the defendants face up to 3 to 5 years of supervised release.

The case was investigated by the Massachusetts Identity Theft/Financial Crimes Task Force led by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Inspector General, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Social Security Administration, the Saugus, Boston and Medford Police Departments. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Antoinette E.M. Leoney in Sullivan's Major Crimes Unit.

Press Contact: Samantha Martin, (617) 748-3139


 
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Last Modified: 03/03/2005