Rhode Island man accused of defrauding Massachusetts nonprofit MassChallenge, stealing Apple laptops

A 38-year-old Rhode Island man is accused of defrauding a Massachusetts nonprofit that helps entrepreneurs, according to police who say he bought 142 Apple laptops as an employee and stole most of them.

Jonathan Alexander Mateo, of Riverside, R.I., is facing charges for defrauding MassChallenge, and he’s expected to appear in court this month for the computer theft scheme, Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden announced on Monday.

While working at MassChallenge between October 2020 and September 2022, Mateo allegedly purchased 142 Apple laptops using the organization’s American Express card.

When MassChallenge conducted an audit in March, the nonprofit could only account for 24 of the computers. MassChallenge then tried to contact Mateo, who had left the nonprofit, and they couldn’t connect with him.

The value of the missing computers is estimated at over $100,000.

Suffolk DA investigators are looking into the possibility that Mateo used proceeds from the alleged MassChallenge thefts to pay restitution for a similar scheme in Rhode Island.

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