LAWRENCE — When Carmen Beltre was arrested Monday afternoon, police said, she was carrying "suspicious" lists of names and Social Security numbers and immigration and tax paperwork that police say she admitted she "shouldn't have" in her large pocketbook.
When she was booked and allowed to use the phone, Beltre called Mayor William Lantigua and talked with him for about two minutes, according to a police report.
"I've known Willy a long time," Beltre told the arresting officer, Jeffrey Hart, according to his report. "He's gonna want to know what I was arrested for,"
Detectives are now looking into the papers Beltre, 46, had in her possession, which included Internal Revenue Service tax refund documents, green card and immigration paperwork and vouchers for state assistance.
"I can not think a single lawful purpose of why the defendant would be in possession of such information," wrote Hart, noting the majority of the paperwork was not in Beltre's name.
"There were many more papers and notebooks that I did not examine," said Hart, who seized Beltre's brown purse as evidence.
Police Chief John Romero described the documents as "absolutely suspicious." Police now need to determine why Beltre had the paperwork and if it was used "in some kind of an identity theft."
"It's clear to us she shouldn't have had the documents. Now we have to determine what she did with them or what she was going to do with them," said Romero, adding Beltre was arrested in 2005 in an auto insurance fraud investigation.
After she called him Monday, Lantigua did not make any calls to the Police Department on Beltre's behalf, Romero said.
The mayor did not return a phone message seeking comment for this article but emailed a statement to The Eagle-Tribune late yesterday. Lantigua said he knows Beltre "as she has been a resident of Lawrence for many years."
"Though I am familiar with her, as I am with the majority of the City, she is not a close personal friend of mine. Though she used my name and called me, I don't condone this and don't encourage it in anyway," the statement said. "Many people have my phone number as it's very public and sometimes feel they can call upon me for assistance. This is a police matter and needs to be handled through due process and the court system. I informed Ms. Beltre of this when she called me."
Beltre, of 203 Crawford St., #34, was arraigned Tuesday on charges of driving after license revocation, speeding, attaching plates, driving an uninsured motor vehicle and a red light violation. Over the objections of a prosecutor, the charges against Beltre were dismissed upon payment of $550.
Hart pulled over Beltre at 1:40 p.m. Monday after seeing the license plate on the white Toyota Avalon she was driving hanging from the back of the car. He ran the license plate, which came back as being revoked with cancelled insurance.
When Hart put on his blue lights, he said Beltre drove through a red light on Jackson Street. She then turned onto Jackson Court, a dead end, where she turned into a parking lot, got out of the car and tried to walk away, Hart wrote.
She told Hart the vehicle belonged to a friend but couldn't remember her friend's name. She also said she didn't have a license. Hart told her he needed to see some kind of identification. As she rummaged through her large brown pocketbook, Hart saw a license inside.
He told her to put her bag on the trunk of the car. Then he searched the bag, finding a paper with names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers written on it. Another paper with the name "Roderico Niz," and his birthdate, nationality, sex, Social Security and green card numbers was stapled to an IRS tax refund belonging to Niz.
Back at the station, as Beltre was booked, Hart said he found "additional suspicious items that I believed warranted further investigation including more names with Social Security numbers, immigration papers, copies of birth certificates and WIC claim vouchers.
None of the documents was in Beltre's name except for attorney's paperwork listing her as having suffered injuries in auto accident in Lawrence in April, according to the report.
Beltre was charged in an auto insurance fraud case in 2005. She admitted filing a false damage and injury claim after an accident that she initially claimed was caused by a hit-and-run driver.
She later admitted causing the damage to her car by backing into a cement beam. Police said at the time she had filed 11 previous accident claims since 1992, nine of them involving injuries. She was found guilty of filing a false police report in the 2005 case.
Beltre could not be reached for comment for this story.
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