A woman whose bakery was once featured on the Food Network allegedly stole the identity of a deceased infant for nearly two decades and is now facing up to 30 years behind bars in connection with the ruse, WSYX-TV reports. On Friday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio announced charges against 49-year-old Ava Misseldine, who is accused of using the baby’s identity to obtain a passport, a student’s pilot license, work as a flight attendant, admission into The Ohio State University and pandemic relief assistance.
It was during this period when Misseldine owned and operated Koko Tea Salon & Bakery near Columbus, Ohio. The Food Network once featured the restaurant on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” for the bakery’s red velvet cupcakes, which were made with beet juice instead of food coloring, according to Columbus Monthly. But federal investigators began scrutinizing Misseldine last year when she attempted to renew her passport. Misseldine also received approximately $1.5 million in what the government says were fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program loans under both identities. She submitted forged documents to support the loan applications and allegedly used the money to purchase a $647,000 home near Zion National Park in Utah and a $327,000 home in Michigan, WBNS-TV reports. In September 2021, Misseldine also applied for and received Utah driver’s licenses under both names, prosecutors allege. Misseldine faces a minimum of two years in prison but could be sentenced up to 30 years behind bars if convicted.
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[Featured image: Police Handout]