SOCIAL SECURITY LAW: Ex-Alaska Police Officer Charged with SS Identity Fraud

June 17, 2011

Alaska-- A former police officer has pleaded guilty on Social Security identity fraud charge before the state Superior Court on Friday.

Rafael Mora-Lopez admitted stealing a Social Security number as well as other documents to apply for job, licenses, and government benefits, reports said.

According to reports, Mora-Lopez had received thousands of dollars in dividends from Alaska Permanent Fund, using the false SS number. He assumed the identity of Rafael Alberto Espinoza for two decades and used his papers to apply for state benefits. He also used Espinoza’s documents to obtain driver's license and work in United States.

Prosecutors had filed the SS identity fraud lawsuit at Superior Court after discovering the discrepancies on Mora-Lopez passport and other papers recently. Mora-Lopez initiated paying a restitution of $27,352.80 to the state special prosecutions office before Friday. Sentencing is scheduled on September 16, reports said.

Reports said Mora-Lopez was born and raised in Mexico. Espinoza was a U.S. citizen who has resided in Guadalajara, Mexico. Mora-Lopez was a friend to Espinoza's sister, but later stole the identity papers. Mora-Lopez's wife was a neighbor to Espinoza in the 1980s.

As stated in the prosecutor’s lawsuit, Mora-Lopez then ventured to Alaska on a travel visa in 1989. He then used Rafael Espinoza's documents to gain employment and process state transactions. He worked as a bus driver for six years, and later an anchorage police officer for six years. Using his false papers, he has helped his wife, Margarita Cynthia Espinoza, obtain US citizenship.

Authorities discovered the false identity when Mora-Lopez renewed his passport recently. Police officers found no other criminal record on Mora-Lopez.

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