A Haverhill woman faces a charge of identity fraud and conspiracy after her nephew said she illegally obtained his Social Security number and other identifying information to open a National Grid account in his name.
Cheryl Zuccola, 59, of 29 Observatory Ave., Haverhill was arrested Dec. 22 on a warrant out of Londonderry, police there said.
Lead investigator Detective Narciso Garcia Jr. wrote in his arrest warrant application that Zuccola's nephew, Anthony Hardacre of Londonderry, accused his aunt of committing fraud against him from April 2015 to February 2016.
According to Hardacre, Zuccola used his personal information to open a National Grid account for her former home at 55 South Elm St., Haverhill. A six-month investigation into the crime began in June, three months after Hardacre first learned of the fraud, police said.
Hardacre believed it was Zuccola who stole his identity because she had a “history of stealing from family members,” Garcia wrote in his arrest warrant application.
Hardacre told police Zuccola took over the bills for the Elm Street home after her mother died, continuing to live there after other relatives moved out, according to the arrest warrant application.
Hardacre told police he helped her vacate the property in February 2016, according to the paperwork.
According to the paperwork, National Grid told police Hardacre was listed as the subscriber on the account, with Zuccola's phone number attached. The utility company also shared customer service call notes with police, detailing several conversations regarding the account they had with others. According to police, Hardacre denied speaking with the utility company during the times in question.
Once Hardacre was alerted to the fraud, Zuccola called him to “explain a few things,” police said. In a voicemail, she said everything was “screwed up” and confirmed she asked Hardacre's mother to help pay the bill, police said. They said Zuccola also pleaded with Hardacre not to involve the police.
Questioned by investigators in late October, Zuccola admitted she did pay “some” of the bill, but said she is on disability and at times fell behind on payments, police said.
Admitting to the crime during a police interview, Zuccola said she took out the account using Hardacre's information that was given to her by his mother. She had her daughter call National Grid posing as Hardacre because the daughter “had a raspy voice” and could sound like a male on the phone, police said.
Zuccola was scheduled to be arraigned in Rockingham Superior Court Jan. 2.