Hampton man admits to multi-million dollar fraud, agrees to forfeit $825K

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CONCORD — A Hampton man entered a guilty plea today for conducting four distinct fraud schemes that sought to embezzle about $2.1 million, according to U.S. Attorney Jane E. Young.

Anthony Silva, 39, admitted to three counts of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft in federal court.

Silva has agreed to forfeit more than $825,000 to the federal government as part of his plea agreement.

U.S. District Court Judge Samantha D. Elliott has set Silva’s sentencing for May 2.

The initial indictment by a grand jury was on March 21, 2022, with a subsequent superseding indictment on Dec. 20.

The schemes Silva orchestrated involved using stolen personal information, such as names, birth dates, Social Security Numbers, to illegally obtain unemployment insurance benefits from Vermont and Massachusetts, American Express credit cards, and funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Silva directed these ill-gotten funds into various bank accounts under his control, often registered under victims’ identities or fictitious entities with himself as the trustee.

Silva’s fraudulent activities yielded him more than $400,000 from Vermont, upwards of $150,000 from Massachusetts, and $600,000 from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

In addition, he made over $50,000 in purchases using the fraudulently obtained credit cards at retailers including Victoria’s Secret and Walmart.

Silva also attempted, unsuccessfully, to secure an additional $1.35 million from the CARES Act, bringing the total intended loss to roughly $2.1 million.

The charges for wire and mail fraud carry potential sentences of up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 or twice the amount of financial gain or loss from the crime, whichever is greater.

Aggravated identity theft is punishable by a mandatory 2-year sentence to be served consecutively to any other sentence.

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