The husband of a Johnston lawmaker was arrested last week on charges of aggravated identity theft and access device fraud.
Henry Fellela Jr., 61, was taken into custody by federal authorities Friday. He is alleged to have stolen and used credit cards belonging to residents of Connecticut.
Fellella – who is married to District 43 state Rep. Deborah A. Fellela – was previously sentenced to four years in federal prison in 2014 after pleading guilty to charges that included the use of stolen credit cards and illegal collection of Social Security benefits. He remained on supervised release at the time of his latest arrest.
Fellela was reportedly ordered held following his arraignment in federal court in Connecticut.
In an affidavit, Postal Inspector Joshua L. Governale states that he believes Fellela “knowingly and with intent to defraud, used access devices, namely credit cards … and obtained things of value aggregating $1,000 or more within a one-year period, affecting interstate and foreign commerce.”
Governale also states that “there is probably cause to believe … in or about September 2018, in the District of Connecticut, Fellela did knowingly use, transfer, and possess, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person known to Fellela to be a real person … during and in relation to a felony violation … that is, access device fraud.”
Governale’s affidavit states that an individual reported a credit card had been stolen from her mailbox last October and used at several stores in Connecticut. The woman’s credit card statement showed purchases of more than $2,000 apiece at three different Best Buy locations. There was another Best Buy purchase of $1,364.36 and a charge at an Aldi Grocery Store for under $100.
Governale states that surveillance footage obtained from several of the stores showed a suspect who matched a description of Fellela and photos provided by the Johnston Police Department.
“Upon review of the evidence … there is probable cause to believe, and I do believe, that the individual seen on video using [one individual’s] credit card at Aldi Grocery Store, the North Haven Best Buy, and the Orange Best Buy in September 2018, and the individual seen on video leaving the North Haven Best Buy after using [another individual’s] credit card on Oct. 21, 2018, is Fellela,” Governale’s affidavit reads.
Governale continued, saying that the registration check on the vehicle driven to the North Haven Best Buy in October matched an address in Johnston. It was in the name of one of Fellela’s adult sons, but the man seen in the video and described by witnesses was “in his late sixties.” Governale states that he does not believe anyone else accompanied Fellela.
Governale’s affidavit also states that an inspection of Fellela’s garbage on Feb. 7 revealed a Cricket brand cell phone box that could be traced back to where it was sold. A few weeks later, Governale was able to confirm it was purchased at a Best Buy in West Simsbury, Connecticut, along with a $200 gift card. The transaction, according to the affidavit, did not have “any apparent connection” to either of the card’s authorized users.
“I reviewed video surveillance footage from the West Simsbury Best Buy during the time [one of the] credit card[s] was used,” Governale states. “The individual seen making the purchases appears to be the same individual caught on surveillance using [the previous] cards in September 2018 and October 2018, respectively, as he has a similar build, appears to be the same age, and walks in a similar manner as the individual seen in those videos.”
At press time, Rep. Fellela had not responded to messages seeking comment.