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Press Release

Acton Man Pleads Guilty to Using Stolen Identities to Obtain COVID Relief Funds

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

BOSTON – An Acton man pleaded guilty today in connection with a conspiracy to use stolen identities to fraudulently obtain disaster loan funds from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and to launder the funds.  

Edwin Acevedo, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton scheduled sentencing for May 16, 2023. Acevedo was arrested and charged along with co-conspirator Hector Garcia in August 2021.

According to charging documents, Acevedo’s co-conspirators used stolen identity information of United States citizens to apply for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans. It is alleged that Garcia used stolen identity information of a United States citizen to open a fraudulent bank account, which was then linked to other fraudulent bank accounts set up to receive the SBA funds. Acevedo coordinated co-conspirators’ receiving some of the debit cards associated with fraudulent bank accounts into which SBA funds were deposited.  Acevedo and co-conspirators laundered the SBA funds by using the debit cards to purchase iPhones, which Acevedo and others then re-sold for cash. It is also alleged that Garcia and other co-conspirators wired a portion of the funds to co-conspirators in the Dominican Republic.

It is alleged that over $452,000 in SBA funds were fraudulently obtained in connection with the scheme. Approximately $250,000 of this money was used to purchase iPhones in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

On Dec. 8, 2022, Garcia was indicted by a federal grand jury in Boston on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, three counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft. He has since pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. 

The charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and of wire fraud each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. 

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins and Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New England made the announcement. Valuable assistance was also provided by Homeland Security Investigations in Orlando, Fla.; Small Business Administration, Office of the Inspector General; Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General; Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General; Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General; Department of State; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Massachusetts State Police; New Hampshire State Police; and the Acton, Nashua (N.H.), Manchester (N.H.) and Ocala (Fla.) Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elianna Nuzum and Adam Deitch of Rollins’ Criminal Division are prosecuting the case. 

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated January 5, 2023

Financial Fraud