Former Local Bakery Owner Arrested for Stealing Identity of Deceased Baby, $1.5M Pandemic Relief Fraud
From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Ohio:
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A Columbus woman was arrested in Utah on federal charges related to stealing the identity of a baby who died as an infant. The woman allegedly used the infant’s identity to obtain a passport, a student pilot license, a job as a flight attendant, admission into The Ohio State University and pandemic relief loans.
Ava Misseldine, 49, formerly of Columbus, Ohio, was charged by a criminal complaint with passport fraud, Social Security number fraud, aggravated identity theft and fraud in connection with an emergency.
According to court documents, Misseldine stole the identity of a baby who died in 1979 and is buried in a Columbus cemetery.
In 2003, Misseldine allegedly applied for an Ohio ID and later a Social Security card and driver’s license using the stolen identity.
In 2007, Misseldine allegedly posed as the stolen identity to obtain a student pilot certificate and U.S. Passport. Misseldine submitted paperwork claiming she needed the passport to travel internationally in her occupation as a flight attendant for JetSelect. She was employed under the false identity.
Over the next 13 years, Misseldine allegedly continued to obtain identity documents in both her real and fake names. An investigation was launched in 2021 when she tried to renew the fraudulent passport.
Court documents allege Misseldine obtained approximately $1.5 million in fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program loans in 2020 using both her real and fake identities. Her loan applications list her businesses as various bakeries and catering companies, including her former bakeries Sugar Inc. Cupcakes & Tea Salon in Dublin and Koko Tea Salon & Bakery in New Albany and at Easton. She submitted forged documents to support her loan applications.
Misseldine used the pandemic relief loan money to purchase a home for $647,500 adjacent to Zion National Park in Utah and a home for $327,500 in Michigan.
In August and September 2021, Misseldine, after relocating to Utah, allegedly obtained driver’s licenses in both names.
If convicted, the defendant faces a mandatory minimum of two years and up to 30 years in prison. She will be transported to the Southern District of Ohio to face her charges in federal court.
Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, announced the charges and commended the investigation by the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service and Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, assisted by the U.S. Marshals, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Special Assistant United States Attorney Timothy Landry is representing the United States in this case.
A criminal complaint merely contains allegations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.