BOSTON – A former Everett man pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston to identity theft and fraud charges in connection with multiple schemes to fraudulently obtain an apartment as well as pandemic-related relief funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program made available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
Tedje Menard, 28, pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, one count of false representation of a social security number and one count of aggravated identity theft. U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs scheduled sentencing for Nov. 30, 2022. Menard was charged and arrested in November 2021 and subsequently indicted by a federal grand jury on Jan. 27, 2022.
In or around November 2020, Menard applied to rent an apartment in East Boston using the name and identity of another person. As part of the application and screening process, Menard falsely claimed to be the victim by providing the company overseeing the property with, among other things, the victim’s name, social security number, date of birth and a copy of a purported North Carolina driver’s license containing the victim’s information but depicting a photograph of Menard. Menard also submitted an EIDL application in the amount of $40,000 using the victim’s name and personal identifiable information in June 2021.
Additionally, in April 2021, Menard used his own name to apply for a PPP loan in the amount of approximately $20,833. In the loan application, Menard falsely represented his business’ total gross income in 2019 and his criminal history.
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 up to $250,000. The charge of false representation of a social security number provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, up to three 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 consecutively to any other sentence imposed, one year of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. 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.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the Department of Labor and the U.S. Secret Service, Boston Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Mackenzie Duane of Rollins’ Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.