Man from St. Albans Accused of Severe Identity Theft and Fraud

Outside St Albans hospital (Credits: ITVX)

The District of Vermont’s U.S. Attorney’s Office disclosed that on March 14, 2024, Jonathan Whalley, a 50-year-old resident of St. Albans, Vermont, was indicted by a federal grand jury. Whalley faces charges including aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, mail fraud, and bank fraud.

During his arraignment on March 20, 2024, Whalley pled not guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin J. Doyle, who subsequently ordered Whalley’s detention pending trial.

The case was initiated when a Burlington resident reported his identity documents stolen from his vehicle in March 2022. Following this, Whalley is accused of exploiting this individual’s personal information to engage in a complex fraud scheme.

District of Vermont’s U.S. Attorney’s Office (Credits: Vermont Public)

This alleged scheme involved purchasing six vehicles in Georgia using the victim’s identity, financing and insuring these vehicles, securing Vermont vehicle registrations, opening a bank account, and establishing a Gmail account, all purportedly supporting these fraudulent activities.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has reminded the public that an indictment merely outlines accusations, and Whalley retains the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. Should Whalley be convicted, the legal consequences are severe.

The charge of aggravated identity theft carries a compulsory two-year imprisonment. The wire and mail fraud charges could lead to up to 20 years in prison, and the bank fraud charge has a maximum sentence of 30 years. Considering the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines and relevant sentencing factors, the court would influence the final sentencing.

Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles (Credits: Burlington Free Press)

U.S. Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest lauded the investigative efforts of the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles Enforcement and Safety Division (Investigative Section) and Homeland Security Investigations for their roles in bringing this case to light.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Corinne Smith is prosecuting the case, with Whalley’s defense being handled by the Office of the Federal Public Defender.

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