July 22, 2018
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Mexican man charged with aggravated ID theft

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff

BAR HARBOR — A Mexican national arrested last fall by local police has been charged in federal court in Bangor with using a false Social Security number and aggravated identity theft, according federal officials.

Adrian Guerra-Acosta, 39, of Mexico City, is accused of using photocopies of another man’s personal documents, such as that man’s birth certificate, Social Security card and high school diploma, to obtain ID cards and unemployment checks, according to an affidavit filed March 16 in U.S. District Court in Bangor. The alleged victim is a 37-year-old United States citizen originally from Brownsville, Texas, the document indicates.

Guerra-Acosta first came to the attention of police last October, after the man whose identity he had assumed contacted police in San Diego to complain that several of his unemployment checks had been sent to Maine without his knowledge or consent, federal law enforcement officials claim in the affidavit.

San Diego police contacted Bar Harbor police, who in turn contacted Guerra-Acosta, whom local police knew by another name — the same as the man who had filed a complaint with San Diego police. Bar Harbor police spoke to Guerra-Acosta at a motel on Mount Desert Street, according to the affidavit.

Guerra-Acosta, still passing himself off as the other man, told local police he had received three unemployment checks from California, one of which he said was mailed to a Trenton address. Local police later found out that the check was not mailed to that address and contacted the ID theft victim in San Diego.

Bar Harbor police contacted Guerra-Acosta a second time, at which point he told police his real identity and said he had assumed the identity of the other man, whom he had met while in college in San Diego approximately 20 years ago, according to the affidavit. Guerra-Acosta claimed that the victim had voluntarily provided copies of his birth certificate, Social Security card and high school diploma to Guerra-Acosta so Guerra-Acosta could use the information if he needed to get a job in the United States.

Guerra-Acosta is suspected of using the documents to obtain a Texas driver’s license, a Texas birth certificate, a Social Security card in 2005, and a Maine identification card in September 2009, according to the affidavit. He also allegedly told police he had received five California unemployment checks issued to the victim. The financial amounts the checks were written for is not listed in the affidavit.

Guerra-Acosta could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of using a false Social Security number and an additional two years in prison if convicted of aggravated identity theft, according to federal court documents.

According to federal court documents, Guerra-Acosta is being held in state custody on related charges. An officer at Hancock County Jail in Ellsworth said Tuesday that Guerra-Acosta is being held at the jail on $1,000 cash bail and on a detention order from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The detention order means that if Guerra-Acosta comes up with the $1,000 cash bail, he would be transferred to ICE agents and held in federal custody, the jail officer said.

A first appearance in federal court for Guerra-Acosta has yet to be scheduled, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Clark.

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