Feds Indict Methuen and Lawrence 24-Year-Olds for Half Million Dollar Theft of COVID-19 Loans

John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse. (Beyond My Ken, CC.)

Two 24-year-old men from Methuen and Lawrence, who were previously arrested for using stolen identities to obtain federal disaster assistance money, were indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury.

As WHAV reported in December, Ramon Joseph Cruz, of Methuen, and Darwyn Joseph, of Lawrence allegedly received a half million in disaster loans from the Small Business Administration. They were each indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud and aiding and abetting and one count of aggravated identity theft.

The men are accused of using stolen identity information of U.S. citizens to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Specifically, they were said to have opened fraudulent bank accounts which were then linked to other fraudulent bank accounts to receive the money. Joseph and Cruz also received debit cards through the mail and used them to purchase large numbers of iPhones for resale. They are also accused of wiring a portion of the funds to the Dominican Republic.

It is alleged that more than $452,000 in federal loans were received and approximately $250,000 of this money was used to purchase iPhones in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

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