Colombian Fugitive Receives 60 Months for Theft Convictions
PORTLAND, Ore. - Former Portland resident Gerardo Mosquera was sentenced to 60 months in prison in the United States District Court today for his convictions for stealing from a program that provides food to under-privileged children. Mosquera, 43, has been in custody since his extradition from Colombia in December.
According to the indictment, Mosquera made claims to the Oregon Department of Education for meals he never served to children at various program sites in the Portland area. Between 2003 and 2009, Mosquera, doing business as Diversity Initiatives, was paid more than $1.6 million by the Oregon Department of Education. ODE representatives became suspicious when they observed that the number of sites served by Mosquera had decreased, but the number of meals claimed by Mosquera had increased. A subsequent audit by ODE revealed the theft had been ongoing for at least two years, and that approximately 100,000 meals claimed by Mosquera had never been provided.
Special Assistant United States Attorney Helen L. Cooper argued for a 121 month sentence citing the seriousness of the offense, the ongoing nature of Mosquera's fraud, and the detrimental impact his conduct has had on the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and the food program sites. The government also sought sentencing enhancements because of Mosquera's abuse of his position of trust with ODE, his misrepresentation that he was acting on behalf of a charitable organization, his leadership role with his previously registered non-profit company Diversity Initiatives, his use of a false Social Security number when opening Diversity Initiatives - bank account, and his obstruction of justice during related administrative proceedings with ODE.
U.S. District Court Judge Marco A. Hernandez did not impose the sentence enhancements for abuse of position of trust or for Mosquera's conduct on behalf of a charitable organization, but found that Mosquera's leadership role with Diversity Initiatives, his use of a false Social Security number, and his obstructive behavior during the ODE administrative proceedings, warranted sentencing enhancements. Judge Hernandez expressed that he considered the resulting scrutiny and stress on ODE's program as a result of Mosquera's conduct, as well as the fact that Mosquera's criminal conduct occurred over 13 months, as aggravating factors in imposing a sentence at the higher end of the 51-63 month range.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement has placed a detainer on Mosquera and will likely seek his deportation at the end of his term of imprisonment.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Craig Gabriel and Special Assistant United States Attorney Helen Cooper as part of a joint-venture agreement between the Social Security Administration Office of General Counsel in Seattle, and the United States Attorney's office in Portland.