Saturday November 17, 2012

KEITH WHITCOMB JR.

Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- A New Jersey man was held on $100,000 bail Friday after he pleaded not guilty in Bennington Superior Court Criminal Division to allegations that he stole another man's identity and used it to register vehicles in Vermont.

Wilbur Figueroa, 47, pleaded not guilty to eight felonies and eight misdemeanors, the felonies including four counts of forgery-utter/publish an instrument, one count false personation, one charge of identity theft, and two counts of vehicle-forged papers-false statement.

All the misdemeanors were vehicle-application-false statement.

According to an affidavit by Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles Investigator Mary McIntyre, on Sept. 21 she was contacted by Reinaldo Callejo Jr., of Myrtle Beach, S.C., who said he feared Figueroa had stolen his identity after visiting him at Myrtle Beach. According to Callejo, he had recently been in contact with the DMV office in Montpelier and was told there were two vehicles there registered under his name. Callejo said he has not been to Vermont.

Callejo told McIntyre that he and Figueroa had been friends since childhood, and while he was visiting, Figueroa mentioned he was going to open bank accounts in the name of Cindy Burns, a mutual friend of theirs. He said that after Figueroa left, he told Burns what Figueroa had said.

Callejo said Burns told him she had seen Figueroa in possession of a Vermont driver's license bearing Callejo's name. According to Callejo, he and Figueroa had been planning to open a limousine service in Myrtle Beach sometime in 2007 or 2008. He said the deal fell through because Figueroa's driver's license was suspended, but that was how he suspected Figueroa acquired his personal information.

According to McIntyre, she reviewed a number of documents from Vermont bearing Callejo's information. These included an application for a Vermont driver's license that was filled out using Callejo's information on Feb. 24, 2009. It was accompanied by an affidavit saying Callejo was licensed to drive in South Carolina, but did not have the license in his possession.

There was also a South Carolina driver's license, a New Jersey birth certificate, a Social Security Administration printout verifying Callejo's Social Security number; a residential lease agreement for an apartment on Jackson Crossing Road in Pownal dated Dec. 1, 2008, and a duplicate license application dated July 2, 2010.

According to McIntyre there were also a number of documents bearing Callejo's name, those being bills of sale for two vehicles as well as registration applications. She wrote that the addresses listed on the applications were also fraudulent. In addition to that, the lease agreement was false as well as the lease granter merely lived at the home but did not own it.

McIntyre wrote that she learned Figueroa has a criminal record in New Jersey related to drugs, theft, and forgery. She said on Oct. 7 she learned the Woodbridge, N.J., Police Department arrested Figueroa on a driving while under the influence of alcohol allegation and held him on outstanding warrants from three New Jersey towns.

When he was arrested he was using Callejo's identity, McIntyre wrote, but the Woodbridge police determined who he really was and he admitted to being Figueroa.