Northwest

Johnston man charged with fraud, identity theft again

JOHNSTON, R.I. (WPRI) -- The husband of a Rhode Island state representative has been arrested for allegedly stealing credit cards through the mail and using them to buy thousands of dollars worth of electronics.

Henry Fellela, Jr. was arrested by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service on Friday, accused of identity theft and fraud after investigators say he "intercepted" credit cards being sent to customers in Connecticut.

Fellela, who is married to State Rep. Deborah Fellela, was released from federal prison in March of last year after a four-year stint on similar charges. In that case, prosecutors said Fellela made $83,000 in purchases with credit cards stolen from 17 people. He also fraudulently collected more than $58,000 in Supplemental Security Income benefits by claiming to be homeless, when he lived in Johnston with his wife and children.

Just six months after being released from prison on that case, Fellela allegedly started stealing credit cards again, according to Postal Inspector Joshua Governale.

In a court affidavit filed with the new charges, Governale said multiple victims in Connecticut reported they had credit cards mailed to them that never arrived, and yet purchases were being made.

In one case, prosecutors say a man's Chase card never came in the mail, yet it had been used to buy an Apple iPad, AirPods, a Microsoft Surface Pro and a Cuisinart metal toaster at a Best Buy in North Haven, CT. 

Fellela also allegedly bought groceries at an Aldi store, and more electronics at four other Best Buy locations in Connecticut.

Investigators identified him using surveillance video from the stores, and searched his trash cans in Johnston. According to the affidavit, the search of his trash found gambling receipts and a Cricket cell phone package which was traced to a Best Buy in Connecticut. The credit card used to buy the phone belonged to two people who reported it stolen, according to the document.

Fellela appeared in court in Connecticut and was ordered to be detained, according to court documents. A detention form says there were "no conditions of release to reasonably assure the safety of the community."

Fellela's defense attorney, Moira L. Buckley, declined to comment on the new charges.


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