- An Ohio woman was arrested in Utah on charges of passport fraud, social security number fraud and aggravated identity theft.
- Ava Misseldine reportedly took the name from Brie Bourgeois, a baby who died in 1979 in Columbus, Ohio.
- She allegedly used both names together to obtain $1.5 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans.
An Ohio woman arrested Friday in Utah is suspected of stealing the identity of a deceased baby, then using the name to obtain a fake passport and Social Security number, and pandemic relief loans.
The woman, Ava Misseldine, is said to have assumed the identity of Brie Bourgeois, a baby who died in 1979 in Columbus, Ohio, as part of a year-long plan, according to court documents and a press release from the US Attorney’s Office in the United States. Southern District of Ohio.
Misseldine, 49, was charged with stealing the name in 2003, a few years after she was released from prison for theft, forgery and escape, and using it to apply for an Ohio ID, Social Security card and driver’s license. According to court documents, she took the name again in 2007 to apply for a student pilot’s license and a U.S. passport, which she used to apply for a job as a flight attendant.
The US law firm alleges Misseldine used both her real name and Brie Bourgeois together for the next 13 years, most recently to obtain $1.5 million in fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program loans under both identities in 2020.
Misseldine applied for the money for multiple bakeries and catering businesses she operated in the Columbus area, including Sugar Inc. Cupcakes & Tea Salon and Koko Tea Salon & Bakery; the latter was featured by the Food Network on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” according to The Daily Beast.
She is accused of using the aid money to buy two homes, one in Utah for nearly $650,000 and another in Michigan for $327,500.
Misseldine also reportedly misrepresented herself by her first name, including previously telling the Columbus media that she is a former cancer researcher from Hawaii and that her family owned a tea business – alleging a relative was told to The Daily Beast that she be false.
She is accused of using the false identity to enter Ohio State University.
Paula Bourgeois, the mother of the real Brie Bourgeois, told The Daily Beast that she had never heard of Misseldine and only learned of her late daughter’s identity theft on Friday when the outlet called her.
“Brie died so young she didn’t have a social security number,” Bourgeois told The Daily Beast. “She was only 4 1/2 months old when she died…I’m really stunned.”
Misseldine has been charged with passport fraud, Social Security number fraud, aggravated identity theft and emergency fraud, according to the US law firm. She remains in prison.
If convicted, she faces up to 30 years in prison, with a minimum sentence of two years.