Gulfport, Miss. – Steven Wayne Cooper, 49, of Jackson County, was sentenced yesterday by Senior U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr., to “time served” (3 months and 17 days), three years of supervised release and a $1,100 fine for willfully making a false material statement to a federal officer, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca, and Special Agent in Charge Michael Donaldson, of the United States Forest Service.
On July 20, 2018, a uniformed U.S. Forest Service Officer conducted a traffic stop on Cooper for careless driving in Harrison County. Cooper identified himself to the Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer using the stolen identity information of Cooper’s brother. Cooper claimed that he did not have a driver’s license or other identification with him; but, purported to provide his name, social security number, date of birth and other information to the officer. At least some of the information provided was the personal information of Cooper’s brother.
Cooper was issued four misdemeanor citations, all of which were written in the name of the defendant’s brother due to the false information he gave to the Forest Service Officer. Later, the victim contacted the Government when he received the summons for the tickets and notice to appear at the Federal Central Violations Bureau (CVB)/Misdemeanor Court in Gulfport. The Forest Service investigated the victim’s complaint and the victim identified his brother from a law enforcement body cam video. The investigation revealed that a motive for Cooper to conceal his identity was that his Driver’s License had been suspended for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) at the time of his encounter with the Forest Service.
Cooper was charged in a federal criminal indictment and he pled guilty before Judge Guirola on January 20, 2020.
Acting U.S. Attorney LaMarca praised the patrol and investigative work of the U.S. Forest Service law enforcement team. Assistant United States Attorney Stan Harris was the prosecutor for the case.