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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Man From Dominican Republic Sentenced In White Plains Federal Court For Identity Theft And Failure To Register As A Sex Offender

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that RAFAEL CEPEDA, a man originally from the Dominican Republic, was sentenced yesterday in White Plains federal court to 42 months in prison for making false claims of United States citizenship, failing to register as a sex offender, and aggravated identity theft. CEPEDA was also ordered to be removed from the United States. CEPEDA pled guilty on March 18, 2014. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

For over 20 years, CEPEDA lived under an illegally assumed identity as a person who was a U.S citizen, when in fact CEPEDA was never a U.S. citizen. CEPEDA even served multiple prison sentences under the assumed identity. Among CEPEDA’s past crimes was a 2008 conviction in New York for Attempted Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child, for which he was sentenced to two-to-four years in prison. As a result of this conviction, CEPEDA was required to register as a sex offender for life. Nevertheless, in 2013, CEPEDA moved from the State of New York to Hartford, Connecticut, and failed to register as a sex offender in Connecticut.

Also, in 2010, CEPEDA applied for a U.S. passport using the assumed identity of a true U.S. citizen, as well as a birth certificate and New York State ID card.

In addition to the prison term, CEPEDA, 52, of Hartford, Connecticut, was also sentenced to five years of supervised release, and was ordered to be removed from the United States upon completion of his sentence.

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (“ICE”) Enforcement and Removal Operations (“ERO”), the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and the U.S. Marshals Service.

The case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Daniel P. Filor is in charge of the prosecution.

Press Release Number: 
Updated May 13, 2015