Ohio cupcake mogul Ava Misseldine was living a wild double life impersonating dead baby Brie Bourgeois, the Feds say

A flight attendant-turned-cupcake entrepreneur hid her criminal past by stealing a dead infant’s identity, using it to gain a job, a pilot’s license, a passport, college admissions and eventually hundreds of thousands of dollars in COVID-19 rescue funds, say federal investigators.

The scam lasted nearly two decades, until “Brie Bourgeois” made a mistake in renewing her passport last year, according to a criminal complaint released on Friday.

Ava Virginia Misseldine, 49, was arrested by federal agents in Utah on Thursday. Misseldine moved west from Columbus, Ohio last year where she ran a highly regarded organic bakery. One of Misseldine’s businesses, Koko Tea Salon & Bakery, was featured on the Food Networks The best I’ve ever eaten, for red velvet cupcakes made with beet juice rather than food coloring. In a 2014 interview with Columbus monthlyMisseldine portrayed herself as a former cancer researcher who grew up in Hawaii, where she said she was The Columbus Broadcast A year earlier, her family ran a generations-old tea shop. Misseldine said she moved to Ohio to study chemical engineering at Ohio State University and took up baking in 2011 to honor her beloved grandmother.

But, a relative told The Daily Beast, most of this was new to him.

Reached by phone, Russell Misseldine, who lives in Mentor, a suburb of Cleveland, said Ava was not raised in Hawaii, the family was not in the tea trade and he was “not aware” that she had ever worked as a tea According to public records, a “Brie Bourgeois” visited Ohio State, as did an Ava Misseldine, who is listed as a liberal arts student.

Even stranger, Misseldine has reportedly lived an entirely separate life as a “brie bourgeois,” a ruse she began in 2003, three years after she was released from prison on charges of theft, forgery and escaping. The real Brie Bourgeois died in 1997, according to an affidavit filed by a special agent with the US Diplomatic Security Service in federal court in Ohio.

When Misseldine assumed her new, fraudulent identity, she first obtained an official Ohio State ID card in Bourgeois’ name, which she then used to obtain a Social Security card and driver’s license. Misseldine showed a copy of Bourgeois’ birth certificate and the names of the real Bourgeois’ parents, Jacques and Paula.

To explain that she had not applied for a social security number until the age of 31, “Misseldine claimed to have been homeschooled all her life without a job. [B]But she said she needs a social security number for college now.” She then used Bourgeois’ identity to visit Ohio State.

Paula Bourgeois said she was never made aware that her daughter’s identity had been confiscated, that she had no connection with Misseldine and that she had not heard of the arrest until The Daily Beast asked for comment on Friday .

“Brie died so young, she didn’t have a social security number,” Bourgeois said, expressing concern that she could somehow be held liable for financial crimes on her child’s behalf. “She was only 4 1/2 months old when she died … I’m really amazed.” Jacques Bourgeois died in 2003, she said.

In 2006, Misseldine applied for and received an Ohio driver’s license under her real name, in addition to the driver’s license she already held as a bourgeois. Though investigators wouldn’t connect the dots for another decade and a half, the affidavit said that was Misseldine’s first mistake.

The following year, Misseldine began working – as Brie Bourgeois – as a flight attendant for the Columbus-based private charter service JetSelect, the affidavit against her. In June of that year, the Federal Aviation Administration issued “Brie Bourgeois” a student pilot certificate.

In November Misseldine, again a bourgeois, applied for a passport in Columbus.

“Bourgeois” said in her application that she had planned a trip to Dubai, a trip which, according to the affidavit, ultimately never took place. A section titled “What other names did you use?” was left blank. As an emergency contact, Bourgeois listed a person with the initials FF, who federal authorities say also appeared in a civil lawsuit against Misseldine filed a decade earlier in Union County, Ohio. (A Misseldine associate with those initials admitted he knew her but declined to comment on her recent arrest when contacted by The Daily Beast on Friday.)

US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio

Using her fake driver’s license and a letter from JetSelect saying she would work “across Europe and the Middle East,” she obtained a passport made out for Brie Bourgeois, which the affidavit said contained the same home address as Misseldine’s.

Misseldine has been tried multiple times under the name Bourgeois, according to court records reviewed by The Daily Beast. On December 17, 2007, “Bourgeois” pleaded guilty to larceny charges in Franklin County, Ohio.

But again, the address listed for “Bourgeois” was the same home associated with Misseldine’s driver’s license, the affidavit said. This would become an issue in Misseldine’s life and eventually lead to her downfall.

In 2008, Misseldine registered a retail store in Ohio called “Brie Bourgeois” and transferred ownership of a vehicle from “Brie Bourgeois” to Ava Misseldine, the affidavit said. She was also sued in civil court by a creditor, who identified her as Ava Misseldine (aka Brie Bourgeois),” the affidavit reads.

Through it all, prosecutors say Misseldine even defrauded a federal judge overseeing a bankruptcy filing she filed in 2004.

In October 2014, Misseldine appeared in court for a hearing on her application. When asked if she ever used the name Brie Bourgeois, Misseldine “said she only used that name for about two years, and she last used it about four years ago,” the affidavit reads. “She claimed she was adopted, ‘Brie Bourgeois’ was her birth name, and she briefly used the name ‘Brie Bourgeois’ until her adoptive family got upset about it. That was a lie: Brie Bourgeois was a real person who died as an infant, with a different date of birth and birth parents than Ava Misseldine.”

Nonetheless, Misseldine carried on as if nothing was wrong and obtained a passport in her real name so that she could travel to Honduras.

In April 2020, with COVID-19 evolving into a full-blown pandemic, Misseldine began soliciting funds for the Paycheck Protection Program, using forged documents both in her own name and as a Brie Bourgeois, the FBI says. She listed various stores, some of which were no longer open, including her former bakeries, Sugar Inc. Cupcakes & Tea Salon and Koko Tea Salon & Bakery.

In all, Misseldine received about $1.5 million in government loans, which were later forgiven, according to the affidavit. None of the funds went to saving jobs, the affidavit states, noting that Misseldine actually spent the money on a $650,000 home next to Zion National Park in Utah, as well as $330,000 Spread in Michigan have.

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Federal Flight Administration

It wasn’t until January 2021 that Misseldine finally caught investigators’ attention.

That month, Misseldine applied for a new passport as a Brie Bourgeois, according to the affidavit in the mail. She submitted a photograph of herself listing Bourgeois’ date of birth as her own, as well as the social security number she was given in 2003 in Bourgeois’ name.

And then the authorities say that Misseldine was caught up in the web of lies she created.

In her passport application, Misseldine gave her email address as sugarinccupcakes@yahoo.com, which matches a linked URL, sugarinccupcakes.com Misseldine’s Twitter profileit says in the affidavit.

“Some of the information on this fraudulent passport application reflects information Misseldine provided under her true identity in her 2015 passport application,” the filing continued. “For example, in the 2021 fraudulent application, her occupation was listed as ‘baker’, her emergency phone number as [Misseldine’s]and her intended destination as Honduras, all of which match the information Misseldine provided under her true identity in her 2015 passport application.

The application “was flagged for potential fraud, resulting in the [present] investigation,” the affidavit said.

Misseldine now faces charges of passport fraud, social security number fraud, aggravated identity theft and fraud relating to major disasters or emergency benefits. If convicted, she faces up to 30 years in prison. Misseldine does not yet have a lawyer listed in court filings and could not be reached for comment.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/ohio-cupcake-mogul-ava-misseldine-led-wild-double-life-using-dead-baby-brie-bourgeois-identity-feds-say?source=articles&via=rss Ohio cupcake mogul Ava Misseldine was living a wild double life impersonating dead baby Brie Bourgeois, the Feds say

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