BOSTON (WWLP) – An arrest has been made for allegedly withdrawing money from three Massachusetts bank accounts using counterfeit passports.
According to the Department of Justice, Jean Andre Bontiffe, 40, was charged with making or using a forged passport, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft. He was arrested in New York on Nov. 6, 2023.
The charging documents say Bontiffe was arrested in New York on Aug. 9, 2022, for trying to pass through TSA screening at LaGuardia Airport with a fake California driver’s license with the same name as one of the Massachusetts victims. Between July 20 and July 22, 2022, Bontiffe allegedly made nine attempts to withdraw money from three Massachusetts residents’ bank accounts, stealing $13,800.
As proof of identity, Bontiffe allegedly entered a North Andover TD Bank branch on July 20, 2022, and presented a passport and a Discover credit card, both in the name of a Massachusetts resident with a bank account, trying to withdraw $4,500. The bank denied the transaction due to unmatched signatures and confiscated Bontiffe’s passport and credit card before fleeing.
If you make or use a forged passport, you could get up to 10 years in prison, 3 years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. Bank fraud carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, five years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. If convicted of aggravated identity theft, you’ll have to serve two years in prison consecutive to any other sentence. Federal district court judges impose sentences based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes that govern a criminal case’s sentence.
Joshua S. Levy, Acting United States Attorney; Matthew O’Brien, Special Agent in Charge of the Diplomatic Security Service, Boston Field Office; and Paul Creazzo, Chief of the Mamaroneck (N.Y.) Police Department announced it Tuesday. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Luke A. Goldworm.
On Nov. 14, 2023, Bontiffe will appear in federal court in Boston at 1:15 p.m.