BOSTON (AP) — Federal authorities announced Monday that men from Massachusetts and New Hampshire have been charged in connection with their alleged roles in a scheme that used stolen identities to fraudulently obtain more than $450,000 in disaster loans from the Small Business Administration.
About $250,000 of that money was used to purchase iPhones that were then resold, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston.
Edwin Acevedo, 35, of Acton, Massachusetts, and Hector Garcia, 49, of Manchester, New Hampshire were arrested last week and charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Garcia was also charged with aggravated identity theft. Acevedo is being held pending a detention hearing. Garcia is scheduled to make an initial court appearance on Sept. 3.
An email seeking comment was left with Acevedo’s attorney. Court records did not list a lawyer for Garcia. Garcia used the stolen identity of a U.S. citizen to open a fraudulent bank account, which was linked to other fraudulent bank accounts set up to receive the loans, prosecutors alleged.
Acevedo then distributed debit cards associated with those accounts to other alleged accomplices, which were used to launder the loans through the purchase of iPhones for resale, prosecutors said.
Garcia also wired a portion of the funds to the Dominican Republic, according to authorities.