United States v. Valerio, No. 10-1994 (1st Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Valerio, a citizen of Costa Rica, entered the U.S. illegally in 1991. Her companion paid $500 to obtain a birth certificate and Social Security card in the name of Rosa Hernandez, a person living in Puerto Rico. For about 12 years, Valerio used Hernandez's identity to hold a variety of jobs, pay taxes, open lines of credit, purchase cars, obtain a drivers' license, and take a loan to purchase a home. She obtained various welfare benefits for herself and her family under her real name, withholding information regarding income and assets she held under Hernandez's name. She used the Hernandez identity to vouch for herself as Valerio. When the real Hernandez discovered the situation, police apprehended Valerio, searched her apartment, and found numerous documents relating to her true identity and her assumed Hernandez identity. She was convicted of three counts of mail fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1341 and aggravated identity theft, 18 U.S.C. 1028A. The First Circuit affirmed, rejecting a challenge to sufficiency of the evidence and holding that Valerio was not prejudiced by the performance of her trial attorney.