Largo man charged with stealing tuition from Tampa private school

A Largo man has been charged with stealing tuition money from a private school in Tampa where he worked, the US Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

According to court documents, James John Melis, 52, emailed the parents of the students at the school and demanded payment of their tuition, which they sent to a PayPal account linked to the school. ‘school. The school is not named in court documents or in a press release sent by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Florida.

The indictment accuses Melis of transferring money from the school’s PayPal account to his own personal bank account. He then spent the stolen money on vacations, jewelry and luxury items, according to court documents.

Court documents show Melis transferred $977.70 from the school’s account to his own account on October 20, 2017; $488.77 on November 10, 2017; $756.67 on November 30, 2017; and $488.70 on December 5, 2017.

The DOJ also claims that Melis used other people’s identities when he filled out mortgage applications to give the impression he was qualified for the loans. He provided social security numbers and birth dates that weren’t his, forged signatures and lied that he hadn’t filed for bankruptcy within seven years of the requests, according to reports. court documents.

As part of the mortgage fraud scheme, authorities say he also prepared and submitted false IRS tax returns, as well as “fictitious mortgage satisfactions falsely representing that his properties were worth net worth, and rental contracts which falsely show that he received substantial rental income”. says the press release.

As a result, Melis received a loan of $438,200 in 2018 and a loan of $684,000 in 2019, federal authorities said.

In total, Melis is accused of taking $1.1 million.

If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison for each of four counts of wire fraud, up to 30 years for each of two counts of bank fraud, and two years for each of three counts of usurpation. of identity.

Comments are closed.