U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
April 9, 2014
Johnston Resident Pleads Guilty to Credit Card Fraud,
Aggravated Identity Theft, Social Security Fraud
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Henry A. Fellela, Jr., 56, of Johnston, pleaded guilty in federal court in Providence on Tuesday to charges that he fraudulently obtained the identity of a Smithfield resident and using that person’s identity and credit card to purchase more than $3,000 worth of goods. In addition, Fellela pleaded guilty to charges that he fraudulently obtained more than $58,000 in Supplemental Social Security benefits by falsely claiming he had no permanent home address while living with his wife and children in Johnston.
Appearing before U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., Fellela pleaded as charged in a five-count indictment returned in July 2013 with one count each of credit card fraud, aggravated identity theft and Social Security fraud, and two counts of theft of government funds.
Fellela’s guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Shelly Binkowski, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division; Smithfield Police Chief Richard P. St. Sauveur, Jr.; and Scott E. Antolik, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Office of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General/Office of Investigations.
According to information presented to the court, an investigation by U.S. Postal Inspectors and Smithfield Police revealed that Fellela stole the identity of a Smithfield resident and used that person’s identity and credit card to make numerous purchases including electronic goods and clothing totaling $3,077.13.
In addition, according to information presented to the court, an investigation by the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General/Office of Investigations determined that from March 2004, approximately three months after Fellela was released from federal prison to begin serving a 21-month term of supervised release on an unrelated matter, and continuing until about June 1, 2012, Fellela collected Supplemental Social Security benefits totaling $58,207.34 after falsely reporting that he had no permanent address at the time he applied for and received the benefits.
Fellela, who was released on $50,000 unsecured bond to home incarceration with electronic monitoring following his arrest in July 2013, faces statutory penalties of up 10 years imprisonment, 3 years supervised release and a fine $250,000 on the charge of credit card fraud; up to 10 years imprisonment, 3 years supervised release and a fine $250,000 on each charge of theft of government property; 5 years imprisonment, 3 years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 on the charge of Social Security fraud; and 2 years imprisonment for aggravated identity theft, to be served consecutive to all other sentences imposed.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard W. Rose.
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