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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 5, 2021

Florida Man Arrested in Connection with Summer Camp Fraud And Identity Theft

BOSTON – A Florida man was arrested today on charges that he allegedly stole tuition and deposits from families who planned to send children to sports camps in the Boston area in July and August 2019.

Mehdi Belhassan, 52, of Tampa, Fla., was charged in an indictment on two counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Belhassan will make an initial appearance in the Middle District of Florida today.

According to the charging document, beginning in the fall of 2018, Belhassan falsely claimed to have a venue for his annual MB Sports Camps, first at a Boston-area university, and then at a Boston-area college. Based on this representation, Belhassan allegedly collected tuition and deposit payments from 279 families in Massachusetts and across the United States, as well as advance payments from an online payment company and a commercial lender. As part of his scheme, Belhassan allegedly used a fraudulent contract with the college and forged a college administrator’s signature.

The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of aggravated identity theft provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison to be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kriss Basil of Mendell’s Securities, Financial & Cyber Crime Unit is prosecuting the case.

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

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated March 7, 2021