Stolen Valor Prosecution Results in 20 Year Sentence
District Attorney Chris Hicks Announces Lengthy Prison Term In Fraud Case

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)

Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks has announced that an Ohio woman has been sentenced to close to 20 years in prison for burglary and fraud charges that included submitting false applications for a driver’s license and vehicle registration, as well as falsely claiming decorated military veteran status. The sentence ensures the defendant will serve 728 days in the Washoe County Jail consecutive to a prison term, which has parole eligibility beginning after 7 years has been served.

Kelsie Denise Hoover, 25, from Ohio used a number of aliases including Michael Straton Cipriani while in Washoe County.  She was sentenced yesterday evening in Washoe County District Court by Judge Patrick Flanagan on one felony count of Burglary, one felony count of Possession of a Document or Personal Identity Information to Establish False Status, Membership, License or Identity, one felony count of Fraudulent Application for Driver’s License, one gross misdemeanor count of False Application to Obtain Vehicle Registration and one gross misdemeanor count of Stolen Valor.  Hoover is currently serving a 3 year sentence in Oregon for fraud charges that will run consecutive to the Washoe County sentence. 

The case against Hoover began in early 2015 when a Washoe County School Police (WCSP) officer became suspicious of Hoover’s actions.  At the time, Hoover was working as a volunteer at a local high school under the name Michael Cipriani, and claimed to be a decorated and disabled combat veteran.  Questions arose about a purchase Cipriani made using the school’s credit card and WCSP were notified.  While conducting an investigation into the credit card issue, the WCSP officer came across a video posted on the Internet by a group called Guardians of Valor which depicted Cipriani being questioned about his military service in an airport. The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Investigation’s Division began assisting and further investigation revealed the true identity of Cipriani to be Kelsie Hoover.  It was discovered that Hoover had applied for and was granted a Nevada Driver’s License under the name Michael Cipriani.  Hoover was also granted Nevada Purple Heart license plates by providing DMV with falsified military records and discharge papers claiming to have been awarded a number of medals including the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart.  In addition to the frauds committed against the DMV and the Washoe County School District, Hoover also fraudulently obtained employment as a certified counselor with a local non-profit organization that assists children exposed to trauma and joined a local group that supports athletes with disabilities.

At sentencing, Deputy District Attorney Kevin Naughton argued that Hoover’s actions were disrespectful to her victims and left them with a distrust of others.  The State presented evidence that Hoover had boasted on social media after obtaining Purple Heart license plates by writing “Nevada official! #purpleheart #army #plateswag.”  The prosecution also played a recorded phone call in which Hoover talked about fabricating a story about heroin addiction to explain her actions.  The State argued that Hoover’s actions were not the result of drug use but instead were a sophisticated and long-term fraud.                

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