Feds Melrose firefighter stole dead man’s identity

Melrose firefighter stole dead man’s identity


BOSTON (WPRI) — A man who’s been serving as a firefighter in Melrose has been accused of stealing his dead cousin’s identity to stay in the country, according to U.S. Attorney Joshua Levy.

ORIGINAL NOTE: https://www.wpri.com/new-england/massachusetts/feds-melrose-firefighter-stole-dead-mans-identity/

The man, who Levy referred to as John Doe, was arrested Thursday and charged with making false statements on a passport application and aggravated identity theft.

Doe is accused of using his late relative’s name, date of birth and Social Security number to get ahold of and use several government-issued identification documents in his name. Those documents included Massachusetts driver’s licenses, as well as copies of the victim’s birth certificate and Social Security card, according to Levy.

Levy said Doe posed as his cousin Henry Huang, who passed away in 2002, to apply for a job as a paramedic and become EMT certified. He also attended and graduated from the state’s firefighting academy and eventually landed a job with the Melrose Fire Department.

Doe’s ruse began to unravel in March 2023 when he applied for a U.S. passport using his stolen name, according to Levy. His application was rejected because his cousin’s mother had already submitted an application on his behalf back in 1989.

Levy said an investigation also revealed, through facial recognition, that Doe had a second driver’s license issued to him under the name Truong Nguyen.

Nguyen, who’s originally from Vietnam, came to the United States in 1979 and was ordered to be deported in 1991 after being convicted of second-degree burglary, Levy said.

But Nguyen was never actually deported, Levy said, and was arrested in 2010 for reportedly stealing more than $46,000 from the Norwell Firefighters Union while working as an officer there.

Doe’s true identity remains unknown, however, charging documents note that investigators believe Nguyen may be his real name.

Levy said Doe faced a judge Thursday and was ordered held pending his next court date, which is scheduled for May 29.

Melrose Mayor Jennifer Grigoraitis confirmed that a firefighter was arrested and that he was placed on leave as soon as the city was notified. She refused to elaborate on the investigation, citing city policy regarding personnel matters.