PROVIDENCE, RI – A previously deported Dominican national pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence today to charges that he reentered the country illegally, and then used the identities and Social Security numbers of others without their knowledge to fraudulently obtain health care and welfare benefits.
Appearing before U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., Carlos José Portes-Ortiz, 38, of Pawtucket, pleaded guilty to health care fraud, welfare (SNAP) fraud, misuse of Social Security numbers, aggravated identity theft, and illegal reentry.
Portes-Ortiz was among more than 600 individuals in 58 districts charged last spring and summer by the Department of Justice and United States Attorney’s Offices for their participation in fraud schemes, particularly health care and welfare fraud schemes.
Portes-Ortiz, a.k.a. Juan Carlos Mendieta Vega, a.k.a. Anthony Clausell Rivera, a.k.a. Jose Jimenez Agosto, a.k.a. Willian Acevedo Gil, a.k.a. Allison Gabriel, was deported from the United States in February 2009, after having been sentenced in June 2007 to 37 months in federal prison for conspiracy to import 100 grams or more of heroin and 500 grams or more of cocaine. Portes-Ortiz was arrested in June 2005 at Newark Liberty International Airport after arriving from the Dominican Republic.
According to information presented to the Court, in November 2015, Providence Police responded to a traffic accident and encountered Portes-Ortiz, who presented officers with a Dominican driver’s license in the name of another person. He was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and driving after denial, suspension or revocation of a driver’s license.
In March 2017, Portes-Ortiz was arrested in Dedham, MA, after attempting to purchase over $1,000 worth of iPhone and iPad equipment using a driver’s license depicting his photograph and a credit card both in the name of a female. At the time of his arrest, Portes-Ortiz was found to be in possession of a Rhode Island Neighborhood Health Plan card, a Rhode Island EBT card for SNAP benefits, a Rhode Island identification card, a Puerto Rican driver’s license and a bank debit card, some depicting his photograph but all in names other than his own. It was later determined through fingerprints that the person arrested was actually Portes-Ortiz.
An expansive investigation led by local agents from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations determined that Portes-Ortiz used multiple names and stolen personal identifying information to gain Rhode Island ID cards; Medicaid and health care benefits, including medical, pharmaceutical and dental services; and EBT cards and SNAP benefits.
The investigation also determined that Portes-Ortiz was employed at a retail store while, at the same time, fraudulently obtaining federal program benefits and services using stolen identities and identifying information.
Portes-Ortiz, detained in federal custody since his arrest on June 27, 2018, is scheduled to be sentenced on January 10, 2019.
Portes-Ortiz’s guilty plea is announced by United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch; Phillip Coyne, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; Rebecca J. Adducci, Interim Field Office Director for ICE Enforcement & Removal Operations; Scott E. Antolik, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Office of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General/Office of Investigations; and William G. Squires, Special Agent in Charge of the Northeast Region of the United States Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ly T. Chin and Terrence P. Donnelly.
The matter was investigated by agents from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations; Homeland Security Investigations – Immigration and Custom Enforcement; U.S. Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General; and U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General.