A St. Peter man allegedly stole the identities of two out-of-state victims and applied for welfare benefits using their information.
Martin Castro Rangel, 74, was charged in Nicollet County Court with felony counts of identity theft, wrongfully obtaining assistance, and public assistance – declaration requirement.
According to a press release from the Nicollet County Sheriff’s Office, an investigation began after police received a tip that Rangel was possibly stealing supplemental security income (SSI) benefits that actually belonged to a person in Washington state. Further investigation revealed that Rangel had stolen the identity of the Washington victim and was able to change the bank of the SSI recipient to his own, according to the release. Rangel allegedly applied for – and obtained – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and medical assistance using the stolen identity.
A residential search warrant uncovered that Rangel had more than $70,000 in outstanding medical bills, and credit cards in the Washington victim’s name, according to the release.
Rangel is also accused of stealing the identity of a Michigan state resident.