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August 25, 2013

ID theft tied to drug trade

'Jane Doe' used stolen SS number to rent multiple apartments


U.S. marshals returned Beltre to Puerto Rico to face trial in federal court there.

During a traffic stop in June 2011 by Lawrence police, Beltre’s pocketbook was found to contain “suspicious” lists of names and Social Security numbers, plus immigration and tax paperwork. The numbers in her possession were issued to residents of Puerto Rico, New York, New Jersey and Illinois.

The charges against “Vega,” or Jane Doe, stem from an ICE investigation of a man suspected of drug trafficking and illegal re-entry to the United States, according to an affidavit by Special Agent Sean Rafferty of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Rafferty said he learned an apartment at 142 Pleasant St., Methuen, was rented by Vega using the stolen identity. Management at the apartment complex told Rafferty that information on Vega’s rental application was “suspicious.”

Vega listed her employment on the application as a designer for a company on Broadway in Lawrence, claiming she made $1,250 weekly. She said she had worked there for two years and six months, according to the application last September.

There is an Internet listing for the company listed by Vega, but its voice mailbox was full and not accepting messages late this week.

Rafferty said that when he dug deeper he found Vega was using a fake Massachusetts driver’s license.

Rafferty contacted Vega-Collazo in Puerto Rico to ask about her stolen identity.

“Vega-Collazo stated she had not given anyone permission to use her identity or sold her identity,” Rafferty said in the affidavit.

She told the ICE agent that about a year earlier she received a letter and an unsolicited check from the Internal Revenue Service. She realized then that someone had stolen her identity and returned the check. She also put a hold on her credit as someone was trying to obtain credit cards and a mortgage in her name, Rafferty wrote.

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