Earlier this week, a former Linden resident was arrested and charged with 13 separate counts after an investigation revealed that he used another man's identity to secure $270,000 in loans, said Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow.

John Melchionna, 42, faces charges of theft by deception, identity theft and forgery, said Romankow. The charges were filed on Monday following an investigation by the Prosecutor's Office and Linden Police Department Detective Mark Case.

According to the complaints, Melchionna used the money, obtained by using a business associate's name, to purchase real estate in Elizabeth. He then forged the associate's name on mortgages to secure the loans, said Romankow.

In addition, Melchionna was charged with running up approximately $300,000 in credit card charges between 2006 and 2008 on credit cards he obtained in the victim's name.

Romankow said the credit card statements and correspondence regarding the real estate transactions used the address of an investment property the victim owned in Linden where Melchionna collected the rents on his behalf while also intercepting the victim's mail.

The victim went to the Linden Police in December 2008 when he ran a credit check on his name and discovered numerous mortgages and credit cards had been taken out by Melchionna in his name.

Melchionna is currently under indictment for using another friend's identity in November 2007 to obtain a $40,000 loan from The Hamilton Group, a New York lender. In that case, authorities allege that Melchionna secured the loan by preparing fraudulent invoices for non-existent accounts receivable. The fraud was discovered when the owner of The Hamilton Group contacted the company listed on the fraudulent invoices and demanded payment.

Editor's Note: These criminal charges are mere accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.