Guatemalan pleads not guilty to ID theft, fraud to get drivers license, welfare

Posted Nov. 26, 2013, at 11:59 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — A native of Guatemala who allegedly used a Texas man’s identity to obtain a Maine driver’s license, immigration documents and welfare benefits pleaded not guilty Monday in U.S. District Court to a dozen charges.

Sergio Suhum, age unknown, of Brunswick, was indicted Nov. 20 by a federal grand jury on five counts of Social Security fraud, two counts of immigration document fraud, three counts of false personation of a U.S. citizen and one count each of theft of public money and aggravated identity theft.

He is being held without bail pending the outcome of his case. Suhum used the name, date of birth and Social Security number of Edgar Estrada, a U.S. citizen living in Hidalgo County, Texas, in 2008 to get a Maine ID card, according to court documents. Two years later, Suhum obtained a Maine drivers license using the man’s identity.

The investigation that led to his arrest on Oct. 4 began 13 months ago when Estrada, 26, informed authorities he had been the victim of identity theft, according to court documents. Due to Suhum’s arrests in Maine for drunken driving April 14, 2012 in Topsham and Sept. 29, 2012 in Auburn, Estrada’s license in Texas to operate as a commercial truck driver was suspended. Estrada also was being fined by the Internal Revenue Services for not filing income tax returns, court documents said.

If convicted, Suhum faces up to 10 years in federal prison on the most serious charges of immigration documents fraud and theft of public money. He also could be sentenced to an additional two years if convicted of aggravated identity theft.

In addition to prison time, Suhum could be fined up to $250,000 and be ordered to pay restitution to the state for the benefits he received. He is expected to be deported if convicted.

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