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Press Release

Harper Woods Man Using Prosthetic Facemasks Pleads Guilty To Wire and Identity Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Michigan

A Harper Woods man, who wore prosthetic facemasks to hide his identity, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud and identity fraud in a scheme to defraud and obtain money from the accounts of Global Payments Gaming Services Inc. (GPGS)’s VIP Preferred Program patrons, announced Acting United States Attorney Saima Mohsin.

Mohsin was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Timothy Waters, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit Division.

John Christopher Colletti, 56, entered his guilty plea before United States District Judge Linda V. Parker in United States District Court in Detroit this afternoon.

“This defendant went to extraordinary lengths to hide his identity in order to steal others identities and money,” stated Acting US Attorney Mohsin.  “I commend the work of the FBI agents for tracking Colletti down and helping bring him to justice.”

"John Colletti stole the identities of dozens of innocent people, dragging them all into his criminal scheme," said Timothy Waters, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. “The impacts of identity theft are serious and far-reaching for victims, and the FBI will work hard to ensure anyone who engages in this type of conduct is held accountable.”

According to court records, in or around April 26, 2019, and continuing through March 12, 2020, Colletti, with the intent to defraud, unlawfully accessed accounts in the names of several individual victims using GPGS’s kiosks located within various casino properties in at least two states, including the MGM Grand in Detroit. Colletti used names, driver’s license numbers, and the last four digits of Social Security Numbers assigned to known individuals in order to access one or more account in those individuals’ names. Upon gaining access to these accounts, Colletti initiated numerous transactions, withdrawing thousands of dollars from these accounts.  Colletti made these withdrawals with both the intent to defraud and knowledge of the fact that he was not entitled to the money in the victims’ accounts. Further, in making these withdrawals, Colletti attempted to disguise himself by wearing one or more full prosthetic facemasks. Colletti defrauded his victims out of approximately $125,740.00 dollars.

Colletti had in his possession pieces of personally identifiable information (PII) for approximately 300 identities, as well as several full prosthetic facemasks.

GPGS assumed the loss on behalf of its VIP Preferred Program patrons, who were the individual victims. As part of his guilty plea, Colletti will be required to pay restitution to GPGS in the full amount of $125,740.00.

Colletti faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment on the charge of wire fraud and a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years imprisonment on the charge of identity fraud.

Colletti will be sentenced on July 7, 2021, at 11:00AM.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Particka.

Updated April 6, 2021

Identity Theft