Wedding officiant accused of fraud arrested in RI

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MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Police have the wedding officiant wanted on fraud charges in custody in Rhode Island, the Yarmouth Police Department confirms.

The Yarmouth Police Department said James Stern, 39, of Portsmouth is being held at the Adult Correctional Institute (ACI) in Cranston and is awaiting his next court date on Oct. 31 at the 4th Division District Court in Wakefield.

Stern is facing charges of larceny of $1,200 by false pretense and impersonating a public official (justice of the peace). The arrest is the result of an investigation conducted the police into a wedding in South Yarmouth on Sept. 15.

A woman told police she had been married at a resort and her bridal party was provided a locked room to store their belongings. Yarmouth police said several bridesmaids later reported that they were alerted to the misuse of their credit cards.

Eyewitness News spoke with that woman, Ashley Veilleux, after she saw recent stories about Stern. She said she hired him for a photo booth, uplighting and to officiate her wedding.

Police began investigating Stern, who was recently arrested for stealing $200 from a wedding guest’s purse at a ceremony in Newport. He is also accused of using credit cards stolen from YMCA locations in Newport County and Westerly.

The investigation revealed Stern has a lengthy criminal history spanning several states, including Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The Yarmouth Police Department plans to work in tandem with Rhode Island law enforcement and the Massachusetts State Police to make sure Stern is arraigned at Barnstable District Court in the near future.

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