"MEXICAN CITIZEN CONVICTED OF RECEIVING SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME AND FOOD STAMPS ILLEGALLY"
Yakima – Today, Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Roman Ceniceros-Mora, also known as Joseph Anderson Evans Shippentower, age 61, of Yakima, Washington, was found guilty of 40 counts of fraud related to the unlawful acquisition of supplemental security income (SSI) and food stamps. Roman Ceniceros-Mora was also found guilty of making a false claim of United States citizenship and making a false statement in application for a United States passport. The jury returned its verdict on Thursday, July 14, 2011. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled on October 24, 2011, in Yakima, Washington.
Roman Ceniceros-Mora, a citizen of Mexico, has been living in the United States for decades. During that time he repeatedly claimed citizenship in the United States by birth to American Indians in the Pacific Northwest. He also alleged serving in the United States Marine Corps and having suffered combat related injuries during the Vietnam Era. Roman Ceniceros-Mora was an active member of private Marine Corps programs in the Yakima area, including the Toys for Tots program. However, he never served in the United States Marine Corps nor did he serve in Vietnam.
On May 25, 2010, Roman Ceniceros-Mora submitted an application for a United States passport at a Post Office in Yakima, Washington. The application alleged a true name of Joseph Anderson Evans Shippentower. The Department of State Seattle Passport Agency subsequently detected inconsistencies in the information disclosed on the application. Further investigation by the department's Diplomatic Security Service revealed the true nationality of Roman Ceniceros-Mora, in addition to evidence indicating he was receiving SSI from the Social Security Administration and food stamps from the Washington Department of Social and Health Services. His applications for public assistance were based on his alleged injuries and claim of United States citizenship.
Each conviction for supplemental security income fraud and food stamp fraud carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment. A false claim to citizenship carries a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment. A false statement in an application for a passport carries a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment. Each of the convictions carries up to $250,000 fine, up to three years of court supervision after release and restitution.
The investigation was conducted by the Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, Veterans Administration Office of Inspector General, Washington Department of Social and Health Services, and the United States Border Patrol. Additional assistance was provided by the Yakima County Sheriff's Office and the Marine Corp University History Division. This case was prosecuted by Shawn Anderson, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.