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Former Columbus bakery owner accused of using dead infant’s identity to steal $1.5M in COVID relief funds

Former Columbus bakery owner accused of using dead infant’s identity to steal $1.5M in COVID relief funds

Jack McLaughlin

A former Columbus bakery owner was arrested in Utah on federal identity theft charges.

According to a press release from the United States Department of Justice, she used a deceased infant’s identity to obtain a student pilot license, employment as a flight attendant, a passport, admission into Ohio State University and more than $1.5 million in COVID relief funds.

Ava Misseldine, who operated several Columbus-area bakeries, was formally charged with passport fraud, Social Security number fraud, aggravated identity theft and fraud in connection to an emergency. 

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According to the press release, Misseldine stole the identity of an infant who died in 1979. In the same year, she allegedly used the identity to apply for a state ID, Social Security card and a driver’s license.

Between 2007 and 2020, she allegedly obtained a variety of documents in both her real and fake names. She also obtained approximately $1.5 million in Paycheck Protection Program funds in 2020, using both identities.

She allegedly used a portion of the money to buy two homes—one in Utah’s Zion National Park and another in Michigan—valued at nearly $1 million combined.

If convicted, she faces a mandatory minimum of two years in prison, and up to thirty years in prison.

Want to read more? Check out our print publication, (614) Magazine. Learn where you can find a free copy of our new June issue here!

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