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Document and Benefit Fraud
02/28/2012

British fugitive indicted for illegal firearms, document fraud and identity theft

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Additional charges have been filed against a fugitive from England who was arrested in Ozark, Mo., and indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday for illegally possessing firearms, document fraud and identity theft. The charges resulted from an investigation conducted by the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Ozark Police Department, Mo.; the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Edward John Maher, aka Michael Maher, 56, of Ozark, was charged in a three-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Mo. The Feb. 28 indictment replaces a federal criminal complaint that was filed on Feb. 9 and includes additional charges. Maher remains in federal custody.

The indictment alleges that Maher used a Social Security card as an identification document for employment verification in Christian County, Mo., on May 25, 2010. The indictment alleges that the Social Security card was not issued lawfully for Maher's use.

Maher is also charged with aggravated identity theft. Maher allegedly possessed and used a means of identification that he knew belonged to another person. This charge is related to Maher's alleged use of a Missouri driver's license in the name of his brother, Michael Maher, on Oct. 12.

The indictment also includes the charge that was contained in the original criminal complaint. The indictment alleges that Maher, an illegal alien from England, unlawfully possessed the following firearms on Feb. 8: a Hi-Point .45-caliber pistol, a Jennings .380-caliber pistol, a Mauser 7.62x39mm rifle, a Mossberg .22-caliber rifle, and associated ammunition. The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Maher to forfeit those firearms to the government.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, the Ozark Police Department received information on Feb. 6 regarding a fugitive from England who allegedly stole a large amount of cash while working as a security guard. Ozark police officers and FBI agents conducted surveillance of Maher until his arrest Feb. 8.

Maher told federal agents that he began working in the United States in 1998 and has been using the identity of his brother, Michael Maher, who lives in England. Police officers seized the firearms from Maher's residence and from a storage facility in Ozark. Under federal law, it is unlawful for an illegal alien to possess any firearms or ammunition.

The public is cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver, Western District of Missouri, is prosecuting the case.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.