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Tampa man charged in Boston-area summer camp scheme

He collected tens of thousands of dollars in payments from at least 367 families across the nation, prosecutors said.
A Tampa man was charged Friday with stealing tuition and deposit payments from hundreds of families who planned to send their children to sports camps in the Boston area in the summer of 2019, the U.S. attorney's office in Boston said.
A Tampa man was charged Friday with stealing tuition and deposit payments from hundreds of families who planned to send their children to sports camps in the Boston area in the summer of 2019, the U.S. attorney's office in Boston said. [ Photo illustration by ASHLEY DYE and MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]
Published Mar. 5
Updated Mar. 5

BOSTON — A Tampa man was charged Friday with stealing tuition and deposit payments from hundreds of families who planned to send their children to sports camps in the Boston area in the summer of 2019, the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston said.

Mehdi Belhassan, 52, is charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. He was scheduled to appear in federal court in Florida on Friday. No defense attorney was listed in online court records.

Belhassan in the fall of 2018 claimed to have a venue in the Boston area for his annual MB Sports Camps, prosecutors said.

Based on this information, he collected tens of thousands of dollars in payments from at least 367 families across the nation, as well as advance payments from an online payment company and a commercial lender, prosecutors said.

He used the money on personal expenses, including vacations, trips to casinos and adult entertainment, federal authorities said.

He also used a fraudulent contract with one college and forged a college administrator’s signature, authorities said.

If convicted he faces more than 20 years in prison.