August 13, 2022

[CREDIT: Rob Borkowski] The U.S. Court of Appeals upheld suspending 2020 RI mail vote witnesses on Aug. 7.
[CREDIT: Rob Borkowski] The U.S. Court of Appeals upheld suspending 2020 RI mail vote witnesses on Aug. 7.

PROVIDENCE, RI — A Providence man has admitted in federal court that he participated in a construction supply scam defrauding home improvement stores in Rhode Island and Massachusetts of more than $140,000, repeatedly purchasing construction tools and supplies using stolen credit and credit card information.

The guilty plea was announced Monday by United Sates Attorney Zachary A. Cunha.

Appearing before U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith, Jose Brens, 40, pleaded guilty to an indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit access device fraud and seven counts of access device fraud.

Brens admitted to the court that he and others unlawfully obtained credit card information that was used to purchase tools and building products from at least six Home Depot and Lowes stores in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Breen admitted that he defrauded Home Depot stores of $140,578, according to Cunha’s office.

According to court documents, in September 2018, a Smithfield resident contacted the Smithfield Police Department to report that his credit card information has been fraudulently used to purchase $2,100 worth of construction items and tools at a Home Depot in Smithfield. A joint investigation with the United States Secret Service determined that members of conspiracy carried out this and similar schemes in multiple stores, repeatedly making purchases of between…

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