PORTLAND, Maine — A Texas man was denied credit cards, detained at the U.S. border for hours and nearly had his driver’s license revoked for repeated drunken driving convictions and unpaid taxes in Maine.
But none of those convictions or Maine tax problems were his. Investigators determined a man living in Brunswick had stolen his identity.
That man, Sergio Suhum, 26, a Guatemalan citizen, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge D. Brock Hornby to 16 months in prison for a range of charges tied to his theft of the Texan’s identity, U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty announced this week.
Suhum was also ordered to pay $1,354 in restitution for the crimes, which included Social Security fraud, immigration document fraud, false personation of U.S. citizen and theft of government benefits. He pleaded guilty to the crimes in February, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Suhum began living and working in Maine at least as far back as 2008, using the identity of a U.S. citizen living in Texas after he purchased a Texas birth certificate and Social Security card in that individual’s name, according to Delahanty.
He used those documents to acquire a Maine identification and driver’s license, successfully apply for jobs at three locations, and obtain MaineCare and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — SNAP, or formerly known as food stamps — benefits.
“At sentencing, the victim said that the defendant’s use of his identity caused him numerous problems,” Delahanty’s office explained in a news release announcing Suhum’s sentence. “He was denied credit cards and had difficulty getting a car loan. Maine Revenue Services sent him dunning letters for failing to file returns and pay taxes in Maine.
“The Texas Department of Public Safety repeatedly threatened to revoke his commercial driver’s license because of OUI convictions that the defendant accumulated in Maine which also jeopardized the victim’s job driving vehicles in Texas oil fields,” the attorney’s office continued, in part. “He was detained for hours at the border after visiting relatives in Mexico because of a warrant issued on the basis of the defendant’s activities in Maine.”
Suhum acquired approximately $1,500 in SNAP benefits before law enforcement agencies caught on to his activities, and he worked at Days Inn and the DeCoster and Moark egg farms in Turner during his time in Maine.
Delahanty’s office credited the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Maine and U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, the Officer of the Inspector General and the Social Security Administration with investigating the case.