UTAH (ABC4) – An Ohio woman was arrested in Utah for stealing the identity of a dead baby and using it to obtain a passport, a job and around $1.5 million in fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Ohio has arrested the woman, Ava Misseldine, 49, on federal charges related to the identity theft. Authorities say Misseldine used the baby’s identity to obtain a passport, a student pilot license, a job as a flight attendant, admission into Ohio State University and a large sum of pandemic relief loans.
Court documents say Misseldine stole the identity of a baby who died in 1979 and is buried in a Columbus, Ohio cemetery.
Officials say Misseldine used the PPP loans to purchase two homes — one near Zion National Park for $647,500 and a Michigan home for $327,500.
In 2003, Misseldine allegedly applied for an Ohio ID, a Social Security card and a driver’s license using the baby’s identity.
In 2007, she allegedly used the stolen identity to obtain a student pilot certificate and a U.S. Passport. Misseldine was also employed as a flight attendant for JetSelect under the false identity.
Over the next 13 years, Misseldine allegedly continued to obtain identity documents using both her real and fake names. An investigation was launched in 2021 when she tried to renew the fraudulent passport.
Still using both her real and fake identities, Misseldine was able to allegedly secure around $1.5 million in fraudulent PPP loans in 2020. Authorities say the woman claimed she owned various bakeries and catering companies on her forged loan application.
The PPP loans were also used to purchase two homes — one in Utah and another in Michigan.
After relocating to Utah, officials say the woman obtained driver’s licenses using both her real and fake identities.
“If convicted, the defendant faces a mandatory minimum of two years and up to 30 years in prison,” officials say. “She will be transported to the Southern District of Ohio to face her charges in federal court.”
Misseldine has been charged with a criminal complaint of passport fraud, Social Security number fraud, aggravated identity theft and fraud in connection with an emergency.