Thursday, August 25, 2011

Former Anchorage Police Officer Rafael Mora-Lopez Sentenced To Three Months Imprisonment And $10,000 Fine For Immigration-Related Passport Fraud

On August 25th, 2011, Mexican national Rafael Mora-Lopez, who immigrated illegally to the United States and stole another U.S. citizen's identity to prevent discovery, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Anchorage, Alaska to three months in federal prison and fined $10,000. In addition, he was also sentenced to 750 hours of community service and three years of supervised release. Judge Tim Burgess did not sentence Mora-Lopez to deportation, since authorities say deportation issues are a separate matter under the jurisdiction of federal immigration officials.

Mora-Lopez could have been sentenced to as much as 13 years in prison, but accepted a plea deal in which federal prosecutors had recommended one year in prison, three years probation, and a $250,000 fine. Prosecutors recommended a hefty fine because Mora-Lopez holds a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Guadalajara in Mexico, and has the prospective earning power in Mexico to pay such a fine. Prosecutors wanted the fine to be stiff enough to deter other white-collar illegal immigrants. In contrast, defense attorney Allen Dayan recommended Mora-Lopez be put on probation and assessed a fine of $10,000, and urged the judge not to deport Mora-Lopez because, as a former cop, he might be targeted by narcoterrorists in Mexico.

It appears the judge accepted the defense recommendation for the most part. The judge was obviously swayed by the outpouring of positive character references by former co-workers as well as the possibility that Mora-Lopez could be targeted by the cartels back in Mexico. The judge obviously chose to disregard the fact that questions about arrests and court cases Mora-Lopez was involved in under the assumed name, as well as his pension earned under the false identity, still need to be resolved. APD has prepared a spreadsheet of all the cases Mora-Lopez worked on in anticipation of potential challenges. Public reaction to the sentence, as evidenced by comments to the ADN story, show that most people think Mora-Lopez got slapped on the wrist; one person notes that Jessica Beagley could end up with more jail time than Mora-Lopez (Beagley could get as much as one year in jail, although I doubt she'll be sentenced to any jail time). KTVA news video embedded below:

An Alaska state case against Mora-Lopez, Case No. 3AN-11-06897CR, is still open. In June 2011, he pleaded guilty to a single felony count of unsworn falsification in conjunction with knowingly submitting false Permanent Fund Dividend applications. Although Mora-Lopez has since repaid $27,000 of dividends, he is to be sentenced on September 16th by Judge Michael Wolverton, and faces as much as two years imprisonment.

It was not immediately clear if charges have been filed against the wife, Margarita Cynthia Espinoza, who was brought to the United States by her husband. She is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

On August 19th, in an Alaska Dispatch article entitled "Illegal immigrant cop defends himself in letter to judge", Rafael Mora-Lopez told his story to the public for the first time. Mora-Lopez explains that although he came to the U.S. with nothing, not even his own name, from the first moment he arrived, he worked hard every day of his life, and he learned to love this country and respect it as if it was his. After graduating from college, he couldn’t find a good job in Mexico and he didn’t know much about immigration laws. Someone offered him an easy way to immigrate to the United States; being young, without a job, in need of money and full of dreams, he took a chance and now admits it was a big mistake. His family has also confronted some financial challenges; their daughter was born prematurely and in the neonatal intensive care unit for 76 days. The medical bills were costly and put the family nearly $300,000 in debt. He claims he looked into acquiring legal citizenship, but was told it was impossible.

Well, now it's just become even more impossible for him. Mercy cannot be allowed to rob justice.


  1. Wow its a very good post. The information provided by you is really very good and helpful for me. Keep sharing good information..

  2. Your post ignores the fact that his $300,000 medical debt was written off in a bankruptcy. I am personally revolted by the concept that an illegal alien, using a stolen identity, has become an officer of the law. And it makes me furious that our liberal press espouse this man as respectable in any way.

    I don't care HOW comfortable his co-workers are with supporting this felon. Each and Every court case that he was called as witness in or that was initiated by his writ of legal citation has now become a potentially devastating financial burden to the State.

    I would LOVE to hear a journalist ask Sarah about this case~

  3. this crimminal should have been deported !!! now every asshole out there knows all they will get is a slap on the wrist and they will be able to stay in the usa. such bullshit no wonder our country is going to crap

  4. he was wrong of course, no excuses ! but as a parenthesis you probably don't know what it means to live in a poor country with no future in sight and no chances to immigrate legally in a good place like the USA. He had to make a choice and take a risk. Choosing to be a police officer was obviously a higher risk choice.

    1. I agree, but how can we know an illegal? They have human faces and souls like everyone of us on this planet. The media paints them as gangsters and criminals, but those are merely a faction of all illegals. And let's face facts, Mexico, especially northern Mexico, is corrupt and crime ridden. The United States isn't "actually" helping to stop illegals from coming into our country which Mr. Mora-Lopez points out that Mexico doesn't have much of a job market compared to the US. Though I can't wait for the age when we put this kind of pettiness behind us. When is it going to be "us vs. them" instead of "us vs. us"?