By Yonatan Omar –
On Monday, at the United States District Court in Boston, Tiffany Pacheco, a/k/a Tiffany Tavery, 35, of New Bedford appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani and pleaded guilty to six counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
Pacheco and her husband were both indicted in January 2021. Her husband, Arthur Pacheco, pleaded guilty in July 2021 and is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 18, 2021.
In April 2020, Pacheco was hired by the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance shortly after her release from federal prison following a conviction for aggravated identity theft.
While employed with DUA, Pacheco misused her position to submit fraudulent PUA claim information on behalf of herself and husband, who was incarcerated in Texas until Sept. 4, 2020, and was ineligible for PUA funds.
In June 2020, PUA claims submitted for Pacheco and her husband reflected 2019 income of $0 and no dependents. In July 2020, via her employment with DUA, Pacheco obtained access to the PUA computer system, and later changed claim information for herself and her husband in order to increase the amount of PUA funds they would receive.
Pacheco increased the amount of 2019 income for her and her husband to more than $240,000 and increased the number of their dependents to seven.
Pacheco further used her access to the PUA system to verify the increased 2019 income on both claims without the required income verification documents.
In November 2020, Arthur Pacheco called DUA and denied that he had been incarcerated during the timeframe leading up to September 2020, and that he was only incarcerated for approximately one month. Tiffany Pacheco also spoke with DUA and misrepresented the period of time in which Arthur Pacheco had been incarcerated.
A search of the New Bedford apartment where Tiffany and Arthur Pacheco resided uncovered various tools of identity fraud, including an ID laminator, 100 blank ID cards, 68 hologram overlays, 150 card lamination sheets and 649 sheets of blank checks. Also approximately $17,000 in cash and a notebook that appeared to contain the personal identifying information of various individuals were seized.
In addition, a driver’s license recovered during the search matched the name of a victim Tiffany Pacheco used to submit another fraudulent PUA claim. On September 23, 2020, DUA terminated Tiffany Pacheco’s employment.
Pacheco is scheduled to be sentenced on January 12, 2022.
Criminal information and complaints are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.
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