YCMTSU Massachusetts: Firefighter Charged With Identity Theft

A Massachusetts firefighter has been arrested on federal identity theft charges. He is suspected of having stolen the identity of a dead person following his conviction for embezzling from the firefighters’ union of a different Massachusetts fire department and using his new identity to rejoin the fire service.

The bizarre story begins last year with a firefighter from the Melrose Fire Department who the US Attorney’s Office are referring to in charging documents as John Doe. On the Melrose Fire Department, he is known as Henry Huang. Doe/Huang came to the attention of the federal government in 2023 when he sought to obtain a passport. An investigation concluded that the real Huang died in 2002. That investigation resulted in federal charges against Doe/Huang for identity theft and making false statements while applying for a passport.

According to NBC 10 Boston and the US Attorney’s Office, the man is suspected of actually being Truong Nguyen, who in 2010 was charged with stealing $46,000 from the Norwell Firefighters Union. Nguyen was a firefighter in Norwell for six years and served as treasurer for Local 2700 for four of those years. The theft was reported to police on April 8. 2010. Nguyen was directed to bring the union’s financial books to the police station on April 10, 2013. After he failed to appear and did not report to work, an arrest warrant was issued. On April 12, 2010, he was apprehended by Connecticut State Police while staying at Foxwoods Resort Casino.

The US Attorney’s Office reports that Nguyen was born in Vietnam and arrived here in 1979 as a child. He was ordered deported in 1991 following a burglary conviction. For reasons that are not clear, he was never deported and was hired by the Norwell Fire Department. According to NBC 10 Boston, in February, 2011 he pled guilty to embezzlement and larceny, was ordered to pay the Norwell Firefighters union $46,335 in restitution, stay away from two casinos, and attend Gamblers Anonymous.

It is theorized that in 2018 Doe/Nguyen used Huang’s name to obtain a birth certificate, social security card, Massachusetts driver’s license, EMT-B certification and ultimately attend the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy where he graduated in January, 2024. Facial recognition of driver’s license photos connected Nguyen to Huang.

Here is a press release from the US Attorney’s Office, and here is a copy of the criminal complaint:

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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