Monday March 4, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- A Vernon resident stands accused of identity theft and using those identities to fraudulently collect unemployment compensation.

According to court documents filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Florida, Denny Ray Hughes, 40, has been charged with nine counts of wire fraud and three counts of aggravated identity theft.

According to documents filed with the federal court in Florida, Hughes created a corporation in 2008, Mortgage Relief America, and then obtained personal information of 21 people, classifying them as employees.

Later, Hughes classified the 21 individuals as being laid off and filed with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Unemployment Compensation Program over the Internet or by phone, stating the 21 people had previously worked for his corporation.

According to the documents, Hughes then fraudulently applied for unemployment compensation funds and had the money deposited in an account he created for that purpose. Court documents do not state how much money he allegedly stole from the state of Florida.

It is unclear what his connection to Vernon is.

Vernon Police Chief Mary Beth Hebert said she could not comment on the case.

Marc Anton, assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Florida said he could not comment on any ongoing investigation being conducted by his office.

A phone call to an agent from the U.S. Department of Labor, which conducted the search of Hughes’ home in Vernon, was not returned.

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