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Melrose firefighter accused of stealing dead man’s identity

A Melrose firefighter has been placed on leave after he was arrested on charges that he stole a dead man’s identity, officials said.

Melrose Mayor Jen Grigoraitis released a statement Friday confirming that a Melrose Fire Department employee, whom she did not name, had been arrested and was placed on leave immediately after that.

“Yesterday, I was notified by local law enforcement officials that a federal arrest warrant was executed against a Melrose Fire Department employee,” Grigoraitis said in the statement. “The employee was placed on leave as soon as the City was notified of the arrest. As a matter of policy, the City does not comment or provide details on personnel matters.”


According to federal court filings, the arrest warrant was issued to a John Doe living in Quincy whose known aliases are Truong Nguyen and Henry Huang. He faces charges of aggravated identity theft and making false statements in an application for a US passport, court records show.

Henry Huang graduated from the firefighting academy in January of this year and he is the defendant in the case, according to Tom Dalton, a spokesperson for the city of Melrose.

The city of Melrose shared a photo of Huang on Facebook in January, congratulating him for becoming a Melrose firefighter.

“Melrose Firefighters have a new teammate: Meet Firefighter Henry Huang!” the post said. “Before joining Melrose Fire, Huang responded to emergencies, hazards, and disasters alongside public safety partners as a paramedic. Congratulations, Firefighter, and thank you for choosing to protect the citizens of Melrose.”

An affidavit in support of the criminal complaint filed in federal court alleges that Huang used the identity of a dead man to apply for a passport. In court documents, he is referred to as John Doe.

“On March 17, 2023, the individual identified herein as Doe, submitted a U.S. passport application in-person at the U.S. post office in Weymouth, Massachusetts, presenting himself to be HH. The applicant represented on the passport application that he was a person whose initials are HH ... The individual purporting to be HH signed the passport application under the penalty of perjury.”


The defendant was not issued a passport, and his application was forwarded to the Boston field office of the US Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, after a passport agency fraud prevention manager “verified a death record found for HH, which listed HH’s year of death as 2002,” the affidavit states.

“The investigation has determined that Doe unlawfully used the identity of HH, including HH’s name, date of birth, and SSN, in an application for a United States passport, knowing that these identifiers belonged to a real person, namely, HH,” the affidavit states. “Doe knew that this identity was that of a real person because he successfully used HH’s identity to obtain and use multiple government-issued identification documents in HH’s name, including driver’s licenses issued by the Massachusetts RMV in June 2018, January 2019, and April 2023.”

The affidavit further alleges that the defendant used the alias to apply for employment as a paramedic and attended the firefighting academy from November 2023 to January 2024 using that identity.

Emily Sweeney can be reached at emily.sweeney@globe.com. Follow her @emilysweeney and on Instagram @emilysweeney22.