On July 17th, Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Anthony Cicerone, who is assigned to the Boston Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force (DBFTF), filed a criminal complaint in the United States District Court for the First District of Massachusetts in Boston against Vanessa Peguero, a former Registry of Motor Vehicles clerk who worked out of the Leominster, Massachusetts Registry Branch.
The complaint alleges that between February of 2010 and June of 2012, Peguero violated federal law which makes it a federal crime to produce a false driver’s license or other identification document. This is also a felony under G.L. c. 90 § 24B, which carries a mandatory license revocation and a sentence of up to 5 years in state prison.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has alleged that Peguero issued Massachusetts driver’s licenses to certain individuals using false information. These driver’s license applicants obtained valid Puerto Rican identity documents in identities other than their own and, with Peguero’s assistance, they used the false documents to obtain Massachusetts Driver’s Licenses under assumed names.
Last month, Special Agent Cicerone interviewed Ms. Peguero and she admitted that she knowingly and willfully issued at least 15 fraudulent Massachusetts driver’s licenses. She accepted $200 for each false license which she issued.
Peguero was caught when a confidential federal informant provided information indicating that individuals in New York had a contact at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, who provide false licenses. Registry computer checks revealed that Ms. Peguero was the Registry employee who in fact issued a fraudulent license to an illegal immigrant who was arrested at JFK Airport in New York for illegally re-entering the United States. In this person’s possession was a fraudulent Massachusetts Driver’s License which Vanessa Peguero issued. Customs and Border Protection determined that the holder of the license was actually a a previously deported aggravated felon.
Peguero admitted to having generated false licenses commencing in 2010, when a person approached her and asked her to convert his Puerto Rican license to a Massachusetts license. This person later admitted that his Puerto Rican driver’s license was fraudulently obtained and he asked Peguero if she wanted to make money by generating false licenses. The man would pay $200 dollars per license she issues, by leaving the $200.00 in the glove compartment of her car after she generated the fake license. Peguero admitted that she knew the people who were coming in for the licenses were not the people who they claimed to be.
Assistant United States Attorney Eugenia M. Carris has been assigned to prosecute the case.