Feds: NM fugitive committed passport fraud in Iowa

Neil Stammer
A man who was on the FBI's most wanted list is now in NM custody.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A juggler from New Mexico has been charged with passport fraud in Iowa, where he hid for some of the 14-year period in which he was wanted on sex abuse charges, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

A grand jury in Des Moines returned an indictment Tuesday against Neil Stammer, 47, on charges of passport fraud and aggravated identity theft. The indictment said Stammer listed another person’s name and Social Security number on an application for a passport in 2011, and possessed an identification belonging to that person.

Authorities captured Stammer earlier this year in Nepal, where he was teaching English. He’s been returned to New Mexico, where he is facing charges dating back to 1999 that include allegations of sexual abuse against minors and kidnapping. Investigators say Stammer, who had traveled the world as a street performer and once owned a magic shop in Albuquerque, was out on bond when he fled.

Federal investigators and residents have said that Stammer lived in the Des Moines area under the name Kevin Hodges in the early 2000s.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Kevin VanderSchel, said that Stammer was in West Des Moines from April 27, 2011 to May 14, 2011, at the time of the alleged passport fraud. Stammer won’t face the Iowa charges until after his New Mexico case is concluded.

The U.S. State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security found Stammer in Nepal after facial recognition technology flagged his passport photo as the same person in an FBI wanted poster.

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