Florida Woman Pleads Guilty To Financial Crimes After Living Under False Identity For More Than A Decade
In the movie Identity Thief, Jason Bateman plays a nebbish named Sandy Patterson who realizes that he has unknowingly revealed his identifying information to a scam artist, played by Melissa McCarthy. Throughout most of the movie, McCarthy’s character convinces almost everyone she meets that she is the real Sandy Patterson. In real life, most cases of identity theft do not involve introducing yourself to someone else in person by the name of the person whose identifying information you have stolen. Usually, identity theft involves much less dramatic actions, such as typing someone else’s name, birthdate, and bank account number into an online form. The old-fashioned kind of identity theft still sometimes happens, though. Regardless of which illegal actions you are accused of committing with someone else’s identifying information, the best way to avoid a criminal conviction or a prison sentence is to contact a West Palm Beach white collar crime lawyer.
If the IRS and the Divorce Court Don’t Get You, the Passport Authority Will
Nilda Medina-Veguilla lived in Puerto Rico until 2008, when she was in her mid-20s, at which time she moved to the continental United States. At the time of her move, a warrant was out for her arrest in connection with a counterfeiting operation. Upon her arrival in the continental U.S., she took on the name of a woman whom she had known in Puerto Rico; the court documents refer to this woman by her initials N.T.D. For the next 13 years, Medina-Veguilla told everyone that she was N.T.D. Everyone believed her, including her employers, her husband, the officiant at their wedding, the judge who dissolved their marriage, the police who arrested her in an incident that never led to criminal charges, and the office that issued her SNAP benefits. Over the course of several years, she received more than $40,000 in SNAP benefits.
Authorities began to suspect that Medina-Veguilla was not the same person as N.T.D. in 2021, when she applied for a passport under N.T.D.’s name. It turned out that N.T.D. already had a valid passport, which had been issued to her in Puerto Rico. This led to criminal charges, including making false statements on a passport application and obtaining SNAP benefits through fraud. In 2023, she pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and the aforementioned financial crimes. The crimes carry a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in federal prison, but she could receive a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. The Department of Justice website did not go into detail about which other charges, if any, she had originally faced, or how much longer a sentence she could have faced if she had been convicted at trial.
Contact a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Attorney William Wallshein has more than 38 years of experience, including five years as a prosecutor in Palm Beach County. Contact William Wallshein P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida to discuss your case.