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Malden man sentenced to over three years in prison for PUA fraud and identity theft

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  Wagner Sozi, 33, of Malden, was sentenced to 39 months in prison for stealing the identities of more than 60 individuals and using that information to submit fraudulent applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). According to federal law enforcement officials, Sozi, who was sentenced on December 8, used stolen identity information to open retail credit accounts, rent cars and apply for PUA benefits.

  Federal authorities reported that a number of stolen identities came from a real estate company in Cambridge. Sozi lived with someone employed by the real estate company.

  Working with an unnamed female accomplice, Sozi opened credit accounts at various Staples locations across Massachusetts using stolen identities. Although they were fraudulent, the accounts were approved by Staples Manager Ricardo Voltaire in exchange for $8,000 in kickbacks. The accounts were then used to purchase more than $80,000 in Visa gift cards. Sozi also used the stolen identities to purchase a Rolex valued at more than $15,000 and withdraw $5,000 in cash as well as rent a Dodge Charger and a Ford Mustang.

  On May 13, Sozi pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of making a false claim. In addition to 39 months in prison, Sozi will be on supervised release for two years and will pay $110,000 in forfeiture and restitution.

  On October 26, Voltaire pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He will be sentenced on February 28, 2022.

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