Rochester, N.Y. – An upstate New York man has pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by an alien unlawfully in the United States; making a false claim to U.S. citizenship; and aggravated identity theft. This investigation is being conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Rey Anthony Anderson, 34, of Victor, N.Y., faces up to 15 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. In April 2011, the defendant's wife called the Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff's Department to report a domestic disturbance. Deputies seized two long guns from Anderson's home including a Mossberg 12 gauge Model 500 shotgun, and a Ruger SR22RSC rifle. Both weapons contained tactical rail attachments, flashlights and advanced scopes.
The defendant also had two New York state driver's licenses, a Social Security card and a District of Columbia certificate of birth in his possession at the time of arrest. The driver's licenses were in different names, but both bore the defendant's laminated photograph. The investigation determined that the defendant was in fact a Jamaican national who was unlawfully in the United States. Anderson had obtained and used someone else's birth certificate and Social Security card in order to create a new false identity. At one point in the scheme, the defendant submitted a petition to the Supreme Court of the State of New York in Monroe County to change one of his alias names to match that of a name belonging to a real U.S. citizen.
The court granted the order changing the defendant's name, and he then used these documents to obtain a false New York state Enhanced driver license (EDL). An EDL is a photographic identification document issued by the state of New York which complies with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. This identification document functions as primary proof of United States citizenship, and can be used to enter the United States at certain border crossings from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, including Jamaica. In order to obtain an EDL, you must apply in person at a motor vehicle office and provide both proof of identity and proof of U.S. citizenship.
Investigators learned that the defendant also falsely claimed U.S. citizenship when he purchased both rifles from local gun stores. In addition, he unsuccessfully applied for a U.S. passport in one of his alias names. However, the State Department became suspicious of the material submitted with his application and did not issue a passport.
The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of HSI; Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Ontario County Sheriff's Department.
Sentencing will be scheduled in Rochester before U.S. District Court Judge David G. Larimer.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig R. Gestring, Western District of New York, is prosecuting this case on behalf of the U.S. government.