Ceniceros Uniform Mug.jpg
Ceniceros-Mora in his phony uniform.
He called himself Joseph Ann Shippentower and claimed to be a Nez Perce tribesman. He also assumed the identity of


Roman Ceniceros-Mora: Mexican Man With Multiple Identities Headed to Prison for Fraud, Claimed to Be Vietnam Vet and Native American

Ceniceros Uniform Mug.jpg
Ceniceros-Mora in his phony uniform.
He called himself Joseph Ann Shippentower and claimed to be a Nez Perce tribesman. He also assumed the identity of Joseph Anderson Evans Sr., a disabled Marine who served in Vietnam. But his real name is Roman Ceniceros-Mora, and he is going to spend the next eight years in federal prison for swindling more than $150,000 worth of food stamps and social security benefits.

Ceniceros-Mora managed to get away with his multiple-personality masquerade for nearly two decades before he made the mistake of visiting a Yakima post office on May 25, 2010 to apply for a U.S. passport. His application caught the eye of government officials, who alerted authorities from Immigration and Customs, the Social Security Administration, Veteran's Administration, and the Diplomatic Security Service.

The agencies did some sleuthing, and soon learned that a Mexican national using the name Joseph Anderson Evans had an "extensive criminal record" accumulated between 1973 and 1990, and had been deported "on multiple occasions," once using yet another alias, Jose Grajeda Vazquez. After one deportation, he told authorities his name was Jose Ramon Ceniceros-Mora.

He had previously been convicted of using a false birth certificate from Oregon, but he was still somehow able to obtain a Social Security card in 1990 in Arizona, and a doctored Idaho birth certificate in 2009.

Ceniceros Licenses.jpg
Ceniceros-Mora obtained two drivers licenses under his assumed identity but got caught trying to apply for a passport.
Federal investigators -- one an Army vet -- soon paid a visit to Ceniceros-Mora's home and grilled him about Joseph Anderson Evans' alleged military service. The impostor claimed he enlisted in the Marines 1968, served in Vietnam, earned a Purple Heart, and was discharged in 1980. He had a full dress uniform, and disabled veteran license plates. His supposed military background led to a position as a citizen volunteer with the Yakima County Sheriffs. But he couldn't even answer "basic questions about his military service."

Ceniceros-Mora tried to maintain the ruses throughout his trial, even weeping on the stand as he testified about his alleged combat experience. A witness from the Army exposed the fraud by pointing out that Ceniceros-Mora couldn't correctly identify various military ranks, recall locations of bases at which he was supposedly stationed, or describe basic training procedures. His bogus claim of being a Native American was also debunked by federal prosecutors.

Ultimately, a jury convicted Ceniceros-Mora of 20 counts of Social Security fraud, and 20 counts of food stamp fraud. All told, he took more than $128,000 in federal aid, and $27,000 from the state in the form of food stamps and medical benefits. In addition to the prison sentence, the court ordered Ceniceros-Mora to pay $155,000 in restitution.

According to the Yakima-Herald Republic, his sister was called as a witness by the prosecution. She identified him. He denied knowing her.

Based on his sister's testimony and his own statements to customs agents the first time he was deported, Ceniceros-Mora was born and raised in a small town near the Mexican city of Zacatecas.

Here are the charging documents, and some photos of Ceniceros-Mora in uniform that were submitted as evidence:Roman Ceniceros-Mora Documents

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