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Press Release

Florida Man Charged with Passport Card Fraud, Bank Fraud, Identity Theft

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

Burlington, Vermont – The United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that on January 4, 2024, the federal grand jury returned a thirteen-count indictment against Scott Jamie Ashness, 43, most recently of Stuart, Florida. Ashness was charged with ten counts of bank fraud, two counts of passport fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft. Previously, on December 1, 2023, Ashness was charged by criminal complaint. Ashness is currently in state custody in the state of New Hampshire. The government has applied for a writ to bring Ashness into federal custody for prosecution.

According to court records, Ashness committed these offenses at various banks in Vermont on September 19 and 26, 2023. As detailed in the criminal complaint affidavit, the government alleges that Ashness visited six different bank branches throughout Vermont on September 19, and another four Vermont bank branches on September 26. At each bank, Ashness obtained or attempted to obtain cash withdrawals from other people’s accounts by purporting to be those people. In some instances, Ashness presented falsified U.S. passport cards containing others’ biographical information and Ashness’ photograph.

If convicted, Ashness faces a maximum sentence of 30 years of imprisonment on the bank fraud counts, a maximum sentence of 10 years of imprisonment on the passport fraud counts, and a two-year mandatory minimum prison sentence. The actual sentence, however, would be determined by the Court with guidance from the advisory Federal Sentencing Guidelines and the United States Code. The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charges in the indictment are merely accusations, and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty.

U.S. Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest commended the investigatory efforts of the Diplomatic Security Service’s St. Albans Resident Office. He also thanked the Derry, New Hampshire Police Department, the Vermont State Police, the South Burlington Police Department, the Essex Police Department, the Winooski Police Department, the Burlington Police Department, the Newport Police Department, and the Barre Police Department for their assistance in the investigation.

The prosecutor is Assistant United States Attorney Nicole Cate. Counsel information for Ashness is not yet available.

The Diplomatic Security Service and the United States Attorney’s Office encourage any financial institution or individual who believes they may have been a victim of similar offenses, particularly involving falsified U.S. passport cards, to contact the St. Albans Resident Office of the Diplomatic Security Service at

Correction:  The press release was edited to reflect the correct spelling of the defendant's hometown.


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(802) 951-6725

Updated January 5, 2024

Financial Fraud
Identity Theft