St. Peter man charged with identity theft, welfare fraud

·1 min read

Dec. 6—ST. PETER — A St. Peter man is accused of stealing two people's identities.

Martin Castro Rangel, 74, who is not a U.S. citizen, allegedly stole Social Security income, applied for and obtained welfare benefits, took out credit cards and incurred more than $70,000 in hospital debt in the other people's names.

Rangel was charged with felony counts of identity theft and wrongfully applying for and obtaining public assistance Friday in Nicollet County District Court.

According to a court complaint and a news release from the Nicollet County Sheriff's Office:

A resident of Washington state stopped receiving his Social Security checks and an investigation determined the money had instead been deposited into a bank account belonging to Rangel.

Sheriff investigator Jay Link also found Rangel had applied for and was receiving public assistance benefits using the Washington man's identity.

Rangel's residence and vehicle were searched Thursday and a fake driver's license, Social Security card, credit cards and other items with the Washington man's name were found. A birth certificate, credit cards and other items with a Michigan resident's name also were found.

Rangel allegedly admitted to the investigator he was using both people's identities, including applying for public assistance, opening credit cards and giving a fake identity to his employer.

He also had received a criminal citation in the Michigan man's name and said he had a debt of over $70,000 to a medical provider in the Washington man's name.

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