Boston-area man sentenced in fraud, ID theft scheme to secure apartment

Steeve Jean stole a person's ID and failed to pay tens of thousands of dollars in rent

Boston-Area Man Sentenced in Apartment Scam
(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

There are easier ways to find an apartment, even in today’s market.

Lynn resident Steeve Jean, 36, has been sentenced to 44 months in prison and three years of supervised release for wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and unauthorized use of a Social Security number as a means to secure a Massachusetts apartment, according to a press release by the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Jean then failed to make payments on that apartment

U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper delivered the sentence, also requiring Jean to pay $41,666 to the Small Business Association and $8,343 to the property management company as restitution. 

Jean admitted guilt on Sept. 6 for submitting false federal loan applications and leasing an apartment using stolen identity information without making rent payments.

Investigations revealed that from September 2021 to June 2022, Jean used another individual’s identity to secure an apartment, accumulating over $8,000 in unpaid rent. 

Further, he fraudulently sought $41,666 in Paycheck Protection Program loans for a non-existent business while incarcerated.

Some people will go to great lengths to avoid paying rent.

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Robert Kennedy, a former Boston-area police officer, was a nightmare tenant for at least three Massachusetts landlords over a period of 20 years.

But Kennedy’s actions recently caught up to him in September when he pleaded guilty in federal court to two counts of wire fraud after admitting to defrauding one of those landlords by providing false information during the tenant screening process and intentionally withholding rent payments, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.

During the rental application process, Kennedy provided the landlord with the date of birth and social security number of a relative who shared his first and last name, concealing Kennedy’s sketchy credit history of collections, delinquent payments, defaults and evictions.

The landlord, based on the false information Kennedy provided, approved the application and allowed Kennedy to move in. 

In addition to his first month’s rent and security deposit checks bouncing, Kennedy immediately began withholding rent payments, even though he made between $141,000 and $187,000 a year as a detective sergeant with the Stoneham Police Department. Kennedy lived in that apartment for four months, rent-free, by taking advantage of the slow eviction process, the release says. 

He still owes that landlord about $14,000 in back rent. The guilty plea requires Kennedy to pay the back rent, though prosecutors agreed not to pursue identity theft charges for the use of a relative’s social security number for a tenant screening.

Each wire fraud charge carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 4.