Former Arizona Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Mainers’ Identities As Part of Unemployment Fraud Scheme
BANGOR, Maine: A Brewer woman pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Bangor today to wire fraud and making false statements to a mortgage lending business. She also pleaded guilty to a separate charge of making a false statement to a licensed firearms dealer.
According to court records, between November 2020 and April 2021, Carol Bragdon, 49, provided false statements and representations to a residential mortgage lender for the purpose of obtaining a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) backed loan. She used Google email accounts to communicate with the lender and the VA and to transmit documentation as part of the scheme. The emails were transmitted from Maine to another state.
In August 2021, Bragdon purchased five firearms at Maine Military Supply in Brewer, falsely stating that she was the actual purchaser of the firearms. She was accompanied by an individual who directed her to specific firearms and who was later arrested with one of the firearms, a Walther model PK380 .380 caliber pistol. That individual was prohibited from purchasing a firearm under federal law.
Straw purchasing typically involves a buyer who can lawfully purchase firearms but who then provides them to another person who is legally prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms, therefore allowing the prohibited person to illegally obtain firearms and avoid the national background check system.
Bragdon faces up to 30 years in prison and up to five years of supervised release. She will be sentenced after the completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office. A federal district judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The VA Office of Inspector General and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the cases.
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Chris Ruge, Assistant United States Attorney (207-945-0373)