Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, seen in a file photo, reported a $65,897 case of identity theft Monday. (Photo: Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office)

After being unable to get loans, medical care and other benefits in his own name, Cambridge resident Frederick Cross, 68, stole the identity of another man, ultimately scamming $65,897 worth of state benefits since 2005 for which he was not eligible, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said Monday.

In Cross’ arraignment Friday, prosecutors said he’d been using another man’s identity for nearly two decades.

Cross applied for Social Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance benefits using his own name and Social Security number in 1990, but was denied, being ineligible for many government benefits because of outstanding warrants charging him with offenses such as larceny and driving with a suspended license. After being denied under his true identity, Cross allegedly applied again using his victim’s identity in 1994, 2009 and 2010. Those applications were also denied, investigators said.

Cross successfully applied for a replacement Social Security card in his victim’s name in 1994, a Massachusetts driver’s license in his victim’s name in 1996 and a Massachusetts ID card in his victim’s name in 2008. Altered birth certificates backing these applications were recovered from Cross’ apartment and the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance, investigators said. They said they found benefits coming from MassHealth, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Emergency Aid for the Elderly, Disabled and Children since 2005.

The victim, who lives in another state, has received bills for thousands of dollars incurred when Cross used his name to get loans, medical care and other services in his name, Conley said. He has been resolving those issues but must still take a variety of time-consuming steps to establish his identity to various businesses, agencies and people.

“Public assistance fraud is much more than a crime against government agencies,” Conley said. “It’s a crime against the genuinely needy who depend on state benefits to support the very young, the very old and the disabled. In this case, it also affected the innocent man whose identity the defendant assumed. That man still lives with massive inconveniences stemming from the charged offenses and likely will for some time.”

Back on May 1, the Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments on four counts of identity theft, two of making false claims to a government agency and single counts of forgery or misuse of a Registry of Motor Vehicles document, making false statements to get public assistance, making false statements to obtain medical assistance and making false statements under penalty of perjury.

Cross was summonsed to appear for arraignment May 14. When he didn’t show, a warrant was issued for his arrest. Waltham Police arrested Cross on that warrant Thursday when he showed up at the Social Security office in Waltham. Suffolk Superior Court Clerk Connie Wong ordered him held on $25,000 bail the following day; prosecutors had asked for $50,000.

He is due back in court Oct. 5 for a pretrial conference. He is represented by attorney Robert Griffin.

This post was written from a press release.