Worcester man pleads guilty to purchasing MBTA passes using others’ identities

Crime

BOSTON (USDOJ) – A Worcester man pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with using stolen identities to fraudulently purchase MBTA passes.    

Kokou Kuakumensah, 31, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled sentencing for Nov. 10, 2021. Kuakumensah was arrested and charged on Jan. 13, 2021.

Between approximately January 2019 and March 2020, Kuakumensah used other individuals’ credit card accounts to fraudulently purchase Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) commuter rail passes. Kuakumensah purchased the passes using stolen credit card numbers at MBTA fare kiosks. Kuakumensah then re-sold these fraudulently-obtained passes for less than their face value in a variety of ways, including advertising them on Craigslist. Kuakumensah sold the passes at MBTA stations, including the station in Grafton. The combined value of the passes Kuakumensah fraudulently obtained was approximately $157,000. 

The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of aggravated identity theft provides for a mandatory sentence of two years in prison to be served consecutively to any other sentenced imposed. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; and Chief Kenneth Green of the MBTA Transit Police made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney John T. Mulcahy of Mendell’s Worcester Branch Office is prosecuting the case.

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