Feds: Man stole dead cousin’s identity, used info to get job as Melrose firefighter

MELROSE, Mass. — A Melrose firefighter is facing criminal charges in connection with an investigation into the theft of his cousin’s identity, federal investigators said in court documents.

The man, who investigators referred to as “John Doe” in court documents because his real identity is unknown, is charged with false statements in his application for a U.S. passport and aggravated identity theft, according to a criminal complaint signed by DSS Special Agent Rachel Malcolm.

In the complaint, investigators allege that Doe stole the identity of his cousin, Henry Huang, who passed away in 2002, to obtain a driver’s license and passport, gain entry into the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy, and apply for and ultimately gain employment at the Melrose Fire Department in January 2024.

Doe, who entered the United States from Vietnam in December 1979, was ordered deported in February 1995 after failing to appear for a deportation hearing stemming from convictions on charges of attempt to commit crime, uttering, larceny, and embezzlement, the complaint indicated.

Although ordered deported, an investigation revealed that Doe was not physically deported to Vietnam.

Doe is also accused of using the name Truong Nguyen.

While using the Nguyen alias, Doe was arrested in 2010 for stealing more than $46,000 from the Norwell Firefighters Union while working as an officer of the union, according to the complaint.

Before being hired by the Melrose Fire Department, Doe obtained a Massachusetts EMT-Basic Certification under Huang’s name, the complaint showed.

As of Friday morning, Huang was still listed on the Melrose Firefighters Local 1617 roster.

Read the full complaint below:

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