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HCSO investigating fraud scheme

For Immediate Release : Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
Release Number: 22-093



Hillsborough County
HCSO investigating fraud scheme

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is investigating a fraud scheme in which suspects stole mail from their victims.

Detectives with HCSO's Economic Crimes Section conducted an extensive investigation into bank fraud and mail theft cases throughout Hillsborough County. Through investigative means, detectives were able to identify the suspects, and on June 23, 2022, executed a search warrant at a home in Tampa. Detectives found that the suspects had pocketed numerous forms of personally-identifying information, including social security cards and credit cards. There, they also located and recovered stolen firearms and ammunition, stolen laptops, stolen auto parts, stolen lawn equipment, and other miscellaneous items. The defendants had accumulated the items worth thousands of dollars over a period of several months.

"These suspects are linked to multiple cases not only here in Hillsborough County, but all across Tampa Bay," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "They exploited their victims by going straight to their mailboxes, stealing their mail, and taking their personal information to access their bank accounts and spend their hard-earned money. It's abhorrent behavior and here at HCSO, we will work to protect hardworking citizens from this type of exploitation."

As a result of the search warrant, three suspects were arrested. Benjamin Favata, 32, faces charges of fraudulent possession of personal identification information, vehicle burglary, petit theft, and credit card theft. Aaron Montgomery, 23, faces charges of grand theft of a motor vehicle, driving with a suspended license, burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, grand theft, and credit card fraud. Jacquelyne Heiser, 28, faces charges of trespass and resisting an officer without violence. 

The investigation is ongoing. 

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