BOSTON — A Lawrence man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Wednesday to aggravated identity theft and Social Security fraud.
Yonelin Manuel Baez Soto, 24, a Dominican national who had been residing in Lawrence, was charged with three counts of false representation of Social Security numbers and three counts of aggravated identity theft.
Judge George O’Toole Jr. scheduled sentencing for Sept. 19. Baez Soto will be subject to deportation proceedings upon completion of his sentence, according to U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling.
On Oct. 15 and 17, 2014, and Aug. 4, 2015, Baez Soto applied for a Massachusetts learner’s permit and/or a Massachusetts identification card using the name, date of birth and Social Security number of a United States citizen.
In September 2018, law enforcement agents encountered Baez Soto when he was an inmate at an Essex County correctional facility, where he was serving a jail term for possession with intent to distribute fentanyl in the other man’s identity.
Baez Soto was identified from, among other things, a fingerprint match with a Dominican Republic identification document issued to him and bearing his photo, Lelling said.
The charge of false representation of a Social Security number carries a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of as much as $250,000. Aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison to run after any other term imposed, one year of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.
Lelling, Peter Fitzhugh, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; and Scott Antolik, special agent in charge of investigations for the Social Security Administration in Boston, announced Baez Soto's conviction Wednesday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lindsey Weinstein is prosecuting the case.