Woman charged with fraudulent use of Social Security number, ID theft

Feds: Undocumented woman in Orange Park used number belonging to US citizen

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A woman has been indicted on charges of fraudulent use of a Social Security number and aggravated identity theft, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida.

Prosecutors said Elizabeth Farina-Torres, 42, an "undocumented alein" who is a citizen of the Dominican Republic, has been charged with five counts of fraudulent use of a Social Security number and five counts of aggravated identity theft.

In about 2008, Farina-Torres began using a Social Security number belonging to a U.S. citizen with a similar name and the same date of birth, according to court documents.

In 2017, the Orange Park Medical Center reported to the Clay County Sheriff's Office a complaint from the victim that someone had used her Social Security number at the hospital four times in 2016, prosecutors said. Hospital records showed that the person who had used the Social Security number was Farina-Torres.

Prosecutors said the victim, who lived in Palm Beach County, told investigators her credit report reflected collection accounts totaling $4,583.92 arising from the four hospital visits, and the credit report also reflected two fraudulently obtained credit cards and charges from a Jacksonville radiology office in the amount of $3,947.

The victim had received calls from collection agencies about accounts that were fraudulently opened by Farina-Torres, prosecutors said. The victim said she spent countless hours repairing the credit issues caused by Farina-Torres, that she had to engage a credit monitoring and repair service to assist her and that her credit score was damaged as a result of Farina-Torres' actions, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors said that in July 2016, the victim was mistakenly arrested at Miami International Airport pursuant to a warrant issued in Massachusetts for the arrest of Farina-Torres. The victim was detained before eventually convincing law enforcement that she was a victim of identity theft.

The Clay County Sheriff's Office learned during the investigation that Farina-Torres had used the victim's Social Security number at an Orange Park rental furniture store in April 2015. Prosecutors said Farina-Torres failed to make the required payments for the furniture and most of the furniture was repossessed, except for some mattresses that Farina-Torres said had been damaged and thrown out.

Farina-Torres was charged with failure to redeliver leased property, but the charge was subsequently dropped, prosecutors said.

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

If convicted, Farina-Torres faces up to five years in federal prison on each count of fraudulently using a Social Security number and a mandatory penalty of two years' imprisonment for each identity theft charge, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The United States also notified Farina-Torres that it will seek restitution for the victim of the offenses, prosecutors said.

About the Author:

Troy Blevins is a Digital Content Editor who has been with Graham Media Group since 2012.