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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 2, 2018

Sex Offender Who Lived in Nine States Over Three Years Sentenced to Federal Prison Time

Nelson Gonzalez Lived Under an Alias to Avoid Detection by Law Enforcement

Abingdon, VIRGINIA – A Raven, Virginia man, who was previously convicted of criminal sexual misconduct in Michigan and therefore subject to the requirements of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act [SORNA], was sentenced last week for failing to register as a previously convicted sex offender when he moved to Virginia. United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring made the announcement.

Nelson Jose Gonzalez, 50, a.k.a. “Gerald Perez” was sentenced last week to 21 months of federal incarceration. Gonzalez previously pleaded guilty to one count of failing to register as a previously convicted sex offender and one count of fraudulently using a social security number belonging to another person.

“As this case indicates, our office will aggressively prosecute individuals who violate the Sex Offender Registration Act,” U.S. Attorney Cullen stated.  “We are grateful to our partners at the United States Marshals Service for their commitment to this critical public-safety initiative.”

According to information presented at previous hearings by Special Assistant United States Attorney and Virginia Assistant Attorney General Suzanne Kerney-Quillen, Gonzalez was convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct while living in Michigan in 1993 and served 15 years in prison. Gonzalez registered as a sex offender in Michigan every three months from the time of his release from prison until sometime in 2012 or 2013.

Gonzalez admitted to purchasing identification documents in 2013, including a social security number of another person for $50 in order to avoid detection by law enforcement and the registration requirements of SORNA. The defendant admitted he left Michigan to pursue work with a traveling carnival and worked in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey, Florida and North Carolina without ever registering as a convicted sex offender in those states as a required by SORNA, despite knowing of his responsibility to do so.

After receiving information that Gonzalez was living and working in Raven, Virginia and had failed to register as a sex offender, the United States Marshals Service began an investigation in January 2018. During the course of that investigation, U.S. Marshal’s Service investigators discovered that Gonzalez was working at a local McDonald’s and using the name “Gerald Perez” to avoid detection by law enforcement.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the United States Marshals Service.  Suzanne Kerney-Quillen, an Assistant Attorney General assigned to the Major Crimes Section of the Virginia Attorney General’s Office and cross designated as a Special Assistant United States Attorney, prosecuted the case for the United States.

Updated July 2, 2018