By Jim Patten
LAWRENCE — Two men arrested in a stolen car case were found to be using stolen identities, and one of them was living at the last known address of Carmen Amada Beltre, a federal fugitive sought in a nationwide fraudulent identity scheme.
Beltre, 46, of 203 Crawford St., has not been seen since indictments against her and 49 others were announced Jan. 11. They were allegedly involved in providing fake identity documents and information of Puerto Rican citizens.
Police Chief John Romero said Alex Rivera Matos, 36, of 55 Arlington St. filed a stolen motor vehicle report with police on Dec. 20, claiming his 1990 Honda Accord had been stolen from 91 Groton St.
On Monday, the car was found in front of 68 Nesmith St., and officers kept the car under surveillance for a period, hoping the thief would return to the car.
The car was then towed by Valley Towing. When officers did a closer inspection of it they realized it did not show any of the typical signs of having been stolen. They also recovered the owner's copy of the stolen car report from Dec. 29 inside the vehicle.
The form could only have been placed in the car after Matos reported it stolen, police said.
When police contacted Matos he told them he had not seen the car since it was stolen.
Matos and Wilfredo Torres-Cruz, 41, of 203 Crawford St., went to the police station Tuesday and told police there were only two sets of keys to the car and they each had a set.
Police said Matos and Cruz told conflicting stories about what happened the night the car was reported stolen.
Cruz was arrested and charged with accessory after the fact and conspiracy.
Matos was arrested and charged with conspiracy, and false statements alleging theft of as motor vehicle,
Romero said during the investigation, Officers Maurice Aguiler and Ryan Guthrie noticed both men spoke with a heavy Dominican accent while alleging they were of Puerto Rican descent.
The officers contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement to ask about the men and that is when they learned of the stolen identities both men were using.
Matos admitted his real name is Richard Alberto Santos-Colon. He told the officers and Immigration Agent Sean Rafferty he bought a plane ticket in 2001 from the Dominican Republic to Panama and on to Laredo, Mexico, and once in Mexico he paid $14,000 to be smuggled into the United States.
He said he then made his way to Lawrence where he purchased a birth certificate and Social Security card in the name of Matos, from a business at the corner of Broadway and Haverhill Street.
Cruz admitted his real name is Luis Alberto Mejia-Delosantos. He told investigators that shortly before January 2000, he obtained a visa to enter Mexico from the Dominican Republic, and arrived in Tijuana, Mexico later that month. He said he paid $6,700 to be smuggled him into the United States.
He made his way to Boston where another man gave him the birth certificate and Social Security card of Wilfreo Torres-Cruz.
Both men admitted they were Dominican citizens and in the country illegally.
Both men were additionally charged with identity theft, giving a false name to a police officer after arrest and possession of false Registry of Motor Vehicle documents, police said.
Both men remain in police custody.
Delosantos (Cruz) told police his actual residence was at 21 Groton St., but that he used Beltre's 203 Crawford St. address to receive documents such as his Mass Health card and prescriptions.
When Beltre was arrested last June she had lists of names, Social Security numbers, immigration and tax paperwork on her - none of them in her name. Federal authorities allege that she and the 49 others sold government-issued identity documents including Government of Puerto Rico-issued birth certificates and corresponding U.S. Social Security cards.
Beltre was allegedly an "identity broker" whose job it was to obtain the false documents and distribute them to customers.