For Immediate Release - May 24, 2010

New Bedford Man Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to 14 Years in State Prison for Drug Trafficking and Identity Fraud Scheme

TAUNTON - A New Bedford man has been sentenced to over a decade in State Prison after pleading guilty to drug trafficking charges and a identity fraud scheme which involved producing fake Massachusetts driver's licenses with stolen personal information, enabling him to obtain credit cards in the name of the victim and fraudulently purchase thousands of dollars worth of goods and electronics. On May 20, 2010, Gerardo Rosario, age 44, of New Bedford, pled guilty in Bristol Superior Court to charges of Identity Fraud (16 counts), Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards to Obtain Goods (5 counts), Falsification of Operator's License (7 counts), Trafficking over 28 Grams of a Class B Substance, Larceny over $250, and Larceny Under $250.

Following the change of plea, Bristol Superior Court Judge Richard Moses sentenced Rosario to 14 years and one day in State Prison on the charge of Trafficking over 28 Grams of a Class B Substance. Rosario was sentenced to five years in State Prison on the charges of Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards to Obtain Goods (5 counts), Falsification of Operator's License (7 counts), and Larceny over $250. On the charge of Larceny Under $250, Rosario was sentenced to one year in the House of Correction and was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in the House of Correction on the charge of Identity Fraud (16 counts). Each sentence will run concurrent.

"The nature and the extent of the Defendant's illicit enterprise should serve as a reminder to all citizens of the Commonwealth to carefully maintain the security of their personal effects and information." AG Coakley said. "This office is committed to proactively investigating and prosecuting organized identity theft operations and we hope that this sentence sends a strong message that both our office and the courts take these crimes very seriously."

Gerardo's nephew, Adrian Rosario, age 22, of Fall River, has also been charged in connection with this case. Adrian is charged with Conspiracy to Commit Identity Fraud (16 counts) and Larceny under $250. That case is still pending.

In March 2008, the Attorney General's Office began an investigation after the matter was referred following an initial investigation by the Acushnet Police Department. Investigators discovered that in February 2007, while working at a local car dealership in Somerset, Adrian allegedly stole over 150 motor vehicle sale contracts from the dealership and gave those contracts to his uncle, Gerardo. On various dates between March 2007 and June 2007, Gerardo used the personal, biographical information from 16 of these contracts to create fake Massachusetts driver's licenses, which he then used to open various store credit card accounts. Gerardo used these credit cards to purchase various electronics and other merchandise which he would then sell for personal profit.

As the result of a search warrant executed at Gerardo Rosario's residence in June 2007, law enforcement officers located substantial evidence of a scheme to systematically produce false identification which could then be used to defraud. Officers seized numerous templates for production of licenses and other forms of identification from the defendant's computer, a signature pad, a digital camera, the stolen motor vehicle contracts and actual false identification depicting the defendant's photo. In addition, officers found trafficking weight cocaine and other evidence of drug distribution.

A Bristol County Grand Jury returned an indictment against Gerardo Rosario on December 20, 2007, on the charge of Trafficking over 28 Grams of a Class B Substance. Rosario was arraigned on the charge on January 16, 2008, at which time he entered a plea of not guilty and was ordered held on $100,000 cash bail. On March 30, 2009, a Bristol County Grand Jury returned indictments against Rosario charges of Identity Fraud (16 counts), Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards to Obtain Goods (5 counts), Falsification of Operator's License (7 counts), Larceny over $250, and Larceny Under $250. Rosario was arraigned on May 18, 2009, in Bristol Superior Court at which time he entered a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Gerardo Rosario pled guilty to all charges and was sentenced on May 20, 2010.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Adreani of Attorney General Martha Coakley's Enterprise and Major Crimes Division. It was investigated by Det. James Costa of the Acushnet Police Department with assistance from Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General's Office.

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