A 74-year-old Buffalo man was arrested Thursday on passport fraud charges linked to his alleged attempt to renew the passport of a man federal officials insisted died in 1995.
Porfirio Rosa, also known as Luis Rosa, was ordered to remain in custody after he pleaded not guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy during an afternoon arraignment on a federal charge of making false statements in application for a passport. U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. said Rosa faces a prison term of up to 10 years if convicted of the charge.
On this past Oct. 9 the Western Passport Center in Tucson, Arizona received a passport renewal application that Rosa allegedly mailed from Buffalo. In the application, mailed from Rosa’s Buffalo home, he allegedly identified himself as Luis Rosa, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott S. Allen Jr. As proof of identity and citizenship, Rosa allegedly submitted an expired U.S. passport issued in 2003 to a man named Luis Rosa, Allen said.
The criminal investigation began after the Social Security Administration confirmed that the expired passport and social security number listed in the renewal application belonged to a man who died in 1995 and whose widow receives her late husband’s social security benefits. When Rosa was arrested Thursday agents reported finding he also had the New York State identification cards and Social Security cards of several individuals. Hochul said the case was investigated by the Diplomatic Security Services of the U.S. State Department.