Husband of R.I. rep charged with credit card crimes

Danielle Ameden

The husband of a Rhode Island lawmaker has surrendered on charges he used a stolen credit card at Super Stop & Shop in Milford as part of an alleged multi-state crime spree.

Henry Fellela Jr. rang up $400 on the swiped Ann Taylor MasterCard at the grocery store last November, buying things such as greeting cards and Porterhouse steaks, according to police.

Fellela, who police said is married to state Rep. Deborah Fellela of Johnston, turned himself in on a warrant that Milford District Court issued on behalf of the Milford Police Department.

Police say he went to Best Buy and other stores using a Coventry, R.I., woman's credit card that he apparently intercepted in the mail.

"There was charges up and down the Massachusetts/New Hampshire area totaling $8,262.73," said Coventry Detective Thomas Noret, who led the investigation.

The Milford District Court warrant charges Fellela, 50, with a felony count of credit card fraud over $250 and receiving a lost credit card.

Fellela, of Diaz Street in Johnston, turned himself in Oct. 14. He was arraigned last Monday before Judge David B. Locke and released without bail.

The judge appointed him a public defender for a $150 counsel fee.

Fellela is due back in Milford Court on Nov. 30 for a pretrial conference.

Police said Fellela made his purchases in Milford three hours after he was caught on camera using the same stolen card to buy $898 worth of goods at Walmart in Manchester, N.H.

"We have video surveillance," said Milford Detective Jay Ball.

In a report, Ball wrote he tried to contact Fellela and his attorney several times. He requested an arrest warrant when his calls were not returned.

Noret in Coventry worked with Milford Police detectives on the local case.

He said he investigated after Coventry Police received a complaint from the victim, who saw the expensive bill for a card she never received.

Fellela, who has been arrested before on similar charges, made his biggest purchases at different Best Buys, Noret said.

He allegedly picked up LCD TVs, digital cameras and other electronics.

Police said other stops during the two-day spree included Salem and Londonderry, N.H., and Seekonk, North Dartmouth, Taunton and Mansfield.

At the Stop & Shop in Milford's Quarry Square plaza, Fellela's purchases included turkey subs, pork tenderloin and gift cards, Noret said.

To identify the suspect, Noret called the bigger businesses on the credit card bill, looking for video surveillance. He said a Johnston detective who knows Fellela helped ID him.

The detective said he handed information over to departments with jurisdiction that could bring charges. Milford is thought to be the first to press charges.

In January, on a separate case, Fellela pleaded guilty in New Hampshire's Milford District Court to a misdemeanor charge of fraudulent use of a credit card. Noret said those charges are not related to his investigation.

Under a plea deal, Fellela received a six-month prison sentence that was to be suspended after a year of good behavior. He was ordered to pay restitution, according to the court yesterday.

Danielle Ameden can be reached at 508-634-7521 or