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Home » News » Crime

January 02. 2013 11:48PM

Alleged phone ruse may cost inmate work release chance


John Bouraphael, 33, of Danville is facing charges of identity fraud for posing as a public defender to call another jail. The new charges may upend his bid for work release. (JAMES A. KIMBLE/FILE PHOTO)

BRENTWOOD - A Danville man jailed on drug charges who is now accused of impersonating a public defender so he could call an inmate at Merrimack County jail may not be eligible for work release in the wake of new charges expected to be filed against him.

A judge put off a hearing for John Bouraphael, 33, of Danville on Wednesday so his lawyer can determine whether the change in his inmate status will put a halt to a request initially filed by the Department of Corrections.

Bouraphael is expected to be indicted for identity fraud for calling his partner, Jacob Palo, on June 1 after the two were separated for strong arming fellow inmates for their canteen goods at Rockingham County jail, according to prosecutors. The new charges against Bouraphael came to light after Department of Corrections officials deemed him a candidate for work release after serving roughly four months in prison on felony drug charges. Investigators said Bouraphael arranged a three-way call while being held at the Rockingham County jail awaiting trial so that he could pose as public defender Anthony Naro to reach Palo, who was being held in Merrimack County.

Two Merrimack County jail guards acknowledged to investigators they believed the call was coming from Naro, Palo's court-appointed lawyer, according to a summary of the investigation.

Bouraphael allegedly used Naro's New Hampshire Bar ID number to verify his identity to the officers, records show. Rockingham County jail officials discovered Bouraphael's alleged ruse in June while reviewing audio recordings of outgoing calls from inmates.

Bouraphael was sentenced in August to 1 to 4 years in state prison after pleading guilty to one count of sale of a controlled drug and five counts of being a felon in possession of a weapon for keeping several firearms. Judge N. William Delker granted a request to continue the hearing on Wednesday by Bouraphael's attorney.

Assistant County Attorney Michael Zaino said Delker wants Bouraphael's attorney to determine whether Bouraphael's change in inmate status would outright cancel the request for work release.

Zaino confirmed on Wednesday that state corrections officials changed Bouraphael's inmate status once they learned that he had new charges pending. Prosecutors were prepared to argue on Wednesday that any effort by Bouraphael to transition out of prison should be denied, citing a decade-long criminal record and the phone call.

Bouraphael is also fighting an effort to have $415,000 in cash and a trove of jewelry and gold coins from being seized under drug forfeiture laws.

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James A. Kimble may be reached at JKimble@newstote.com.


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