BOSTON – A Dominican national pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston in connection with misusing another individual’s Social Security number to receive housing and unemployment benefits.
Ramon Hiciano, 59, formerly of Roxbury, pleaded guilty to false representation of a Social Security number and theft of government money. U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin scheduled sentencing for Oct. 7, 2021. Hiciano was charged in October 2020.
Between January 2016 and August 2020, Hiciano used the identity of a Puerto Rican citizen to apply for and receive MassHealth benefits and Section 8 housing assistance. Specifically, Hiciano fraudulently received over $58,000 in federally-funded MassHealth benefits and approximately $20,780 in Section 8 housing assistance benefits over the four-year period. He also used the stolen identity to receive $5,736 in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits.
The charge of false representation of a Social Security number provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. The charge of theft of government money provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Jermaine Jack, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, Boston Field Office; Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Phillip M. Coyne, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Boston Regional Office; and Suzanne M. Bump, State Auditor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts made the announcement today. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Burzycki of Mendell’s Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit <https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus>.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: <https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form>.