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Feds: Clayton man, ex-con, lied about having commercial ship pilot license

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A Clayton man has been indicted on federal allegations that he claimed to be a licensed commercial ship pilot when he possessed no such license.

Mark J. Anselm, 37, has been named in a 12-count indictment handed up Wednesday in U.S. District Court, Syracuse, charging him with making false statements to U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Mr. Anselm, who has served two stints in state prison, additionally is charged with possession and use of an altered merchant marine license, fraud in connection with identification documents and aggravated identity theft. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 53 years in prison and a $3 million fine.

According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Mr. Anselm is accused of holding himself out to federal officials, various marina owners and other potential employers as a licensed commercial ship pilot when he is not. He is charged with having repeatedly presented a falsified merchant marine license that he had altered to substitute his own name. It is alleged that on June 12, Mr. Anselm piloted a commercial tugboat, the Ronald J. Dahlke, and grounded it in Lake Ontario.

According to court documents, Mr. Anselm told marine inspectors that he had purchased the vessel six or seven days earlier and that he did not have the vessel’s certificate of documentation on board. He also allegedly said that his merchant marine license was at a home in Rochester and that he would email a copy “as soon as he got back to his office.”

A follow-up investigation allegedly showed that he did not own the boat and revealed numerous instances of Mr. Anselm’s holding himself out as a licensed commercial merchant marine captain, the U.S. attorney’s office said in a prepared statement.

Mr. Anselm, who also lists a Hilton, Monroe County, address, has a fourth-degree grand larceny charge pending against him in Jefferson County Court. In that matter, state police allege that he wrote a bad $1,200 check to Charles Garlock & Sons, 15 Washington St., Alexandria Bay, on April 29. He was ordered held at the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building on $30,000 bail in that matter. He additionally was ordered held without bail Thursday by Cape Vincent Town Court on two counts of third-degree grand larceny and three counts of fourth-degree grand larceny.

In that matter, state police said, Mr. Anselm wrote $2,500 in bad checks on a closed account with Gouverneur Savings Bank to an unidentified person and to Staples and the AAA office in Watertown. Also, an arrest warrant has been issued for him in federal court.

According to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision website, Mr. Anselm was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in state prison in 1999 for a second-degree attempted forgery conviction in Wayne County.

He was released under parole supervision in January 2000. In 2002, he was sentenced to four to eight years in prison for convictions in Monroe County for third-degree grand larceny and second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument. He was released to parole in April 2008.

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