PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Two Providence men have been charged in an alleged identity theft scheme after having been cleared of rape, kidnapping and video voyeurism charges earlier this week.

Federal authorities told The Providence Journal that Julian Balbi and Richard Lara, both 22 years old, were found with the personal information of 1,300 people. Officials allege they used the information to file more than 800 false federal tax returns that netted them nearly $600,000 in bogus tax refunds.

Officials say they discovered the identity theft scheme during the rape investigation.

Rape, kidnapping and voyeurism charges against Balbi, Lara and another man were dismissed Monday after state prosecutors said the alleged victim refused to testify.

Balbi's lawyer declined to comment. No one answered the phone at the Lara's lawyer's office Wednesday morning.


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