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Clayton man gets 7 years in federal prison for posing as commercial ship pilot

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A Clayton man was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court, Syracuse, to seven years in federal prison for pretending to be a licensed commercial ship pilot when he held no such license.

Mark J. Anselm, 37, was also ordered to undergo three additional years of supervision upon his release from prison after pleading guilty Nov. 22 to six felony offenses that charged him with making false statements to officials of the U.S. Coast Guard, possession and use of an altered merchant marine license and aggravated identity theft.

According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Mr. Anselm admitted that during 2011 and 2012 he represented himself to federal officials, to various marina owners and to other potential employers as being a licensed commercial ship pilot when he was not. He admitted to having repeatedly presented fraudulent merchant marine licenses to employers and potential employers that he had altered to substitute his name.

With his false licenses, he gained employment and operated various ships on Lake Ontario. His criminal conduct was discovered by the Coast Guard after he grounded a commercial tugboat, the Ronald J. Dahlke, in Canadian waters on June 19, 2012. The ensuing investigation revealed numerous instances of Mr. Anselm holding himself out as a licensed commercial merchant marine captain based upon licenses he forged, the U.S. attorney’s office said in a prepared statement.

Mr. Anselm, who also lists a Hilton, Monroe County, address, is also due to be sentenced Friday in Jefferson County Court for first-degree scheme to defraud and fourth-degree grand larceny convictions. In that matter, he admitted Jan. 21 that he stole more than $1,000 worth of goods and services from Charles Garlock & Sons, Alexandria Bay, on April 3, 2013, and that on March 15, 2013, he also unlawfully obtained merchandise and services from businesses in the towns of Clayton, Cape Vincent and Watertown, as well as in the city of Watertown.

At the time of his arrest, state police alleged that he wrote a bad check for $1,200 to Charles Garlock & Sons and that he wrote checks to numerous businesses on a closed account. He is expected to be sentenced in those cases to 1 to 4 years in prison and be ordered to pay $14,700 in restitution.

His state sentence will run concurrently with the federal sentence. As part of the federal sentence, he is also ordered to submit to mental health counseling and treatment while he is in prison.

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