Updated: Haverhill Man Among 25 Facing Federal Charges of Document and Benefit Fraud

File photograph. (Image licensed by Ingram Image.)

A former Haverhill man is among 25 people charged this morning in federal court with document and benefit fraud.

Domingo Garcia Suero, 54, a Dominican national formerly living in Haverhill, was already in custody, having been indicted by a federal grand jury in May on five counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, being a felon in possession of a firearm, two counts of false representation of a Social Security number, and one count of aggravated identity theft.

A high-profile press conference featured Attorney General Jeff Sessions and U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. Sessions said, “The investigation also revealed that many of the defendants have driver’s licenses and four are illegal aliens registered to vote.” However, according to the Haverhill City Clerk’s office, Garcia Suero is neither a past or present voter here.

WHAV first reported Garcia Suero’s arrest last December on charges of possessing and distributing the drug fentanyl and Social Security fraud.

Called “Double Trouble,” the investigation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigation’s Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force, comprised of various local, state and federal agencies with expertise in detecting, deterring and disrupting organizations and individuals involved in various types of document, identity and benefit fraud schemes.

Others charged also have prior criminal histories, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston, including a convicted murderer who escaped from prison in Puerto Rico in 1994 while serving a 40-year sentence. Twenty one of the 25 are unlawfully present in the United States, said Sessions.

“The task force is currently investigating suspected aliens, predominately from the Dominican Republic, who are believed to have obtained stolen identities of United States citizens living in Puerto Rico and who have used those identities to obtain documents and public benefits that they would not otherwise be eligible to receive, such as Registry of Motor Vehicles identity documents, Social Security numbers, Medicaid, unemployment and public housing subsidies,” a statement said. “Among other things, a comparison of public benefits records revealed the identities of numerous individuals who received public benefits in Puerto Rico and Massachusetts on or about the same date.”

Other than the former Haverhill man, five were from Lawrence and the remaining lived in Dorchester; Lynn; Mattapan; Houston, Texas; Malden, Salem; Hyde Park; Roslindale; and Brockton.