PORTLAND, OR—Former Portland resident Gerardo Mosquera was convicted in the United States District Court yesterday of stealing from a program that provides food to underprivileged children. Mosquera, 42, was convicted of two counts of theft from the program. He has been in custody while awaiting trial since his extradition from Colombia in December. Mosquera will remain in custody until his sentencing, which is set for December 12, 2012, before U.S. District Court Judge Marco A. Hernandez.
Mosquera could face up to 120 months in prison, pursuant to federal sentencing guidelines. According to the indictment, Mosquera made claims to the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) for meals he never served to children at various program sites in the Portland area. Between 2003 and 2009, Mosquera, doing business as Diversity Initiatives, was paid more than $1.6 million by the ODE. ODE representatives became suspicious when they observed that the number of sites served by Mosquera had decreased, but the number of meals claimed by Mosquera had increased. A subsequent audit by ODE revealed the theft had been ongoing for at least two years and that approximately 100,000 meals claimed by Mosquera had never been provided.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Craig Gabriel and Special Assistant United States Attorney Helen Cooper, as part of a joint-venture agreement between the Social Security Administration Office of General Counsel in Seattle and the United States Attorney’s Office in Portland.