3 Charged in Veterans' Identity Fraud Scam: State Police

Connecticut State police have arrested three people accused of stealing personal information from veterans and using it to obtain monetary credits for vehicle sales.

State police said the owner and two employees at Shark Cycle, an ATV/motorcycle shop and dealer, concocted a scheme to scam the company’s vehicle supplier out of thousands of dollars.

The supplier, Polaris Industries in Minnesota, was running a rebate called the “Hero’s Metal” that allowed anyone with a valid military, police or firefighter id to receive $1,000 off the purchase of a Victory motorcycle.

According to police, Robert Charland, 53, of Stafford Springs and owner of Shark Cycle, created fraudulent Department of Defense forms to make it appear that Shark Cycle customers were veterans, in order to obtain that rebate.

The $1,000 credit would go into a Shark Cycle Parts Account and Shark Cycle and Shark Cycle would sell the Polaris brand vehicle to their customer for a profit. The scheme allowed Shark Cycle to pocket the $1,000 and boost sales, investigators said.

According to the affidavit, Charland and two of his employees, identified as Risa Bazinet, 26, of Willington and Nicholas Wargo, 33, of Stafford, created 12 fraudulent US DOD DD-214 forms using personal information stole from actual veterans that they then submitted to Polaris to receive rebates. The forms were submitted in 2014 and 2015 and the investigation into their activities began in April 2016.

On Monday, Charland, Bazinet and Wargo were all arrested and charged with larceny, identity theft, forgery and money laundering. Charland was released on a $100,000 bond. Bazinet and Wargo were both released on $5,000 bonds. All three are scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 4.

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