Nigerian citizen extradited from Germany to face charges over attempt to steal $25 million in U.S. benefits
Tacoma – A Sumner, Washington man who has lived under a false identity for more than 25 years was arrested on a federal criminal complaint for Aggravated Identity Theft, falsely claiming to be a U.S. Citizen, and using a false document, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Roberto Manzano, 53, was taken into custody yesterday and appeared in U.S. District Court in Tacoma. He was detained pending additional court proceedings next month.
According to the complaint, Manzano began living under a false identity shortly after a California court issued a warrant for his arrest in 1996 on domestic violence related assault and kidnapping charges. Manzano has been using an identity that belongs to a real individual, without that person’s knowledge. He used the identity for his employment with a logistics company in the Seattle area. Manzano also used the identity to pass necessary clearance checks required by the Transportation Security Administration to perform his work at this logistics company. In evaluating his most recent application, TSA Investigations noticed some conflicting information and referred the matter to the Diplomatic Security Service for investigation.
Manzano has also used the identity to unlawfully vote in state and national elections since approximately 2004.
The charges contained in the criminal complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Aggravated Identity Theft is punishable by a mandatory minimum two years in prison on top of any other sentence imposed in the case. Falsely claiming to be a U.S. Citizen is punishable by up to three years in prison and using a false document is punishable by up to five years in prison.
The case is being investigated by the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) with assistance from the TSA.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sean Waite.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Emily Langlie at (206)553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.gov