A Massachusetts couple was sentenced in federal court for identity theft, bank fraud, credit card fraud and various other federal offenses in connection with a mortgage fraud case, the U.S. Attorney reported Friday.

Itza Ruiz, 39, of Malden, Mass., and husband Heriberto Ruiz, 48, also of Malden, were sentenced to time served, officials said. Itza Ruiz was also sentenced to two years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $18,083. Heriberto Ruiz was also sentenced to one year of supervised release, according to officials.

On April 4, 2005, the defendants pleaded guilty to a 23-count indictment, charging them with identity theft, bank fraud, credit card fraud, and making false statements in documents required by federal immigration law, officials said.

The 23-count indictment also charged Itza Ruiz with student financial aid fraud, making false statements in loan applications, making false statements and entries in an INS employment eligibility verification form, and misrepresentation of a Social Security number, officials said.

At the earlier plea hearing the prosecutor told the court that, had the case proceeded to trial, the evidence would have proven that over a three-year period, Itza Ruiz stole the name and personal identifiers of a woman and used the stolen identity to purchase a $318,250 mortgage for her home.

The prosecutor also said that Itza Ruiz used the stolen identity to obtain student financial aid, grants, employment, credit cards, personal loans, telephone service and a checking account.

Heriberto Ruiz was found guilty of aiding and abetting Itza Ruiz, including personally applying for, and co-signing, the mortgage loan for the Saugus, Mass., home the two owned at the time, officials said.

According to authorities, the evidence would have proven that the victim of the couples’ identity theft learned her identity had been stolen when she attempted to obtain financing for a new car.

The victim was denied the financing because of a negative TransUnion Credit Report rating that reported she had an outstanding mortgage of $317,382 for property located at 226 Essex St. in Saugus, officials said.

The victim was able to track down Itza Ruiz and Heriberto Ruiz through the credit report she had obtained, which listed telephone numbers and addresses for the debtors, officials said.

In early August of 2003, the victim called Itza Ruiz and Heriberto Ruiz and confronted them about the theft of her identity, and warned them that she was going to the police, officials said.

Officials said the couple asked the victim for some time to fix the problem, and made good on their promise. The two undid Itza Ruiz’s false identity and paid off the credit cards and loans obtained under the victim’s personal identifiers.

However, officials said, As of today’s date, there is still an outstanding balance of $17,715 fraudulently remaining under the victim’s personal identifiers.


Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to janis@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 140.

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