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Fall River Man Charged with Passport Fraud and Other Offenses

December 13, 2023

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – A Fall River man has been arrested on charges related to passport fraud and other offenses.

Hector Eduardo Arias Mejia, 43, was charged with misuse of a Social Security number, aggravated identity theft and making a false statement in an application for a United States passport. Arias Mejia will remain in custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for Dec. 20, 2023.

According to court documents, Arias Mejia, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, applied for a United States passport and a Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles Real ID using the name and other biographical information of a resident of Puerto Rico. Arias Mejia allegedly used the stolen identity when he was previously arrested, charged and convicted on numerous state court cases.

The charge of misuse of a Social Security number provides for a sentence of up to five years of in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of making a false statement in an application for a United States passport provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of aggravated identity theft provides for a mandatory sentence of two years in prison to be served consecutive to any other sentence imposed, up to one year of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

The investigation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigation’s Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force (DBFTF), a specialized investigative group comprising personnel from various state, local, and federal agencies with expertise in detecting, deterring, and disrupting organizations and individuals involved in various types of document, identity, and benefit fraud schemes.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy and Michael J. Krol, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New England made the announcement. Valuable assistance in the investigation was provided by Homeland Security Investigations in Santo Domingo; Puerto Rico Department of Public Safety; U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service; Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General; U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Inspector General; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and Massachusetts State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney David G. Tobin of the Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case. 

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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