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New York man accused of stealing identities of 3 Massachusetts residents in fraud scheme



BOSTON – A New York man has been arrested for allegedly using counterfeit United States passports in the name of three Massachusetts residents to withdraw money from their bank accounts.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Justice, 40-year-old Jean Andre Bontiffe was charged with one count of making or using a forged passport, one count of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.

According to the charging documents, on Aug. 9, 2022, Bontiffe was arrested by law enforcement in New York for attempting to pass through TSA screening at LaGuardia Airport using a counterfeit California driver’s license in the same name as one of the Massachusetts victims. A subsequent investigation allegedly revealed that, between July 20 and July 22, 2022, Bontiffe traveled to Massachusetts from the Bronx, N.Y., and made nine attempts to withdraw money from three different Massachusetts residents’ bank accounts – stealing a total of $13,800. On July 20, 2022, Bontiffe allegedly entered a TD Bank branch in North Andover and presented a United States passport and a Discover credit card, both in the name of a Massachusetts resident who had an account at the bank, as proof of identity and attempted to withdraw $4,500 from that account. Due to unmatched signatures, the bank denied the transaction and confiscated the passport and credit card prior to Bontiffe fleeing the scene.

The charge of making or using a forged passport provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of bank fraud provides for a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of aggravated identity theft provides for a mandatory sentence of two years in prison to be served consecutive to any other sentence imposed. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Matthew O’Brien, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, Boston Field Office; and Paul Creazzo, Chief of the Mamaroneck (N.Y.) Police Department made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Luke A. Goldworm of the Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.

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