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Pandemic Assistance Drives Identity Theft and Wire Fraud Crimes in Massachusetts

Identity Theft is a serious crime that can also be associated with a number of other, even more serious charges such as wire fraud. In Massachusetts, unprecedented volumes of Pandemic assistance drove some to pursue schemes to gain access to funds through stolen identities and fraud.

In Lawrence, Raquel Pena was charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Pena was alleged to have conspired to file fraudulent claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance using others’ information. In another PUA related crime, Wagner Sozi, 33 pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of making a false claim. Sozi created accounts using stolen personal information in order to apply for PUA benefits, make purchases and rent cars.

Identity theft, wire fraud, bank fraud and other white collar crimes are serious crimes that are often prosecuted together due to the nature of the crimes and the schemes involved. Identity theft is a criminal offense with a punishment of up to 2 years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $5,000 as well as potential restitution for financial damages to the victim. These penalties are more serious if the crime is proved as aggravated identity fraud. Wire fraud is a federal crime that must involve the intent to defraud. Wire fraud is a serious crime that can be punishable by up to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Wire fraud occurs when someone uses an interstate communication device, which can be a telephone or computer for example to intentionally defraud someone of something of value. The important thing to remember is that wire fraud must be proved as intentional. Wire fraud may not be committed accidentally or without knowing intent. Likewise, identity theft must be committed with intention to use personal details to commit illegal acts.

If you have been accused of identity theft and/or wire fraud you need a highly qualified criminal defense attorney to defend your rights, understand the charges and protect you from the penalties associated with multiple convictions. When white collar crimes such as wire fraud and identity theft are associated with each other, cases may be complex and have serious and life changing consequences. You don’t have to surrender your rights. At Dhar Law we believe in fighting for the rights of the accused. We are compassionate, hard-hitting attorneys who will help you navigate your way through the criminal justice system. Please contact us today.

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Heading up the firm, Vikas Dhar is widely recognized as a leader in the New England legal community. An accomplished business litigator and a “Top 40 Under 40” criminal defense attorney, he has also been honored as a New England Super Lawyer/Rising Star in the area of White-Collar Criminal Defense for each of the past six years by Boston Magazine.

I have the power and the skill to be able to save people from themselves. I can be your guide during the darkness. I can hold your hand and navigate you out of the darkness into the light.

— Vikas Dhar
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