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Former Air Force airman pleads guilty to impersonating FBI, OSI agents

A gavel sits in the Luke Air Force Base courtroom. (U.S. Air Force/Released)
October 22, 2021

A former Air Force airman pleaded guilty to two counts of impersonating an officer after he pretended to be a federal agent at various times, including making a traffic stop, offering to solve a crime, and appearing at crime scene investigations armed while claiming to be an agent.

Marlon De’Adrain Priest, 23, of Valdosta, pleaded guilty to two counts impersonating an officer and an employee of the United States before U.S. District Judge Louis Sands on Tuesday. Priest faces a maximum three years in prison to be followed by one year of supervised release and a $250,000 fine per count. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 20.

“Marlon Priest created a false appearance of authority and power to scam and intimidate his victims,” acting U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary said in a news release. “Impersonating a federal agent is a serious crime that will not be tolerated in the Middle District of Georgia. I want to commend the real investigators who brought Priest to justice and who work hard every day to make middle Georgia a safer place.”

“Impersonating a federal officer for any reason puts the public and law enforcement officers at risk, especially when a firearm is used,” Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta Chris Hacker said. “The FBI is committed to keeping the public safe from scam artists like Priest, who undermine legitimate police encounters that happen every day.”

According to court documents, an agent with the Moody Air Force Base Office of Special Investigations contacted the FBI in September 2020 regarding Priest, a former Air Force airman, who was impersonating an OSI Agent in the Valdosta area. The Remerton Police Department had reported to MAFB OSI that Priest had appeared at crime scenes on multiple occasions representing himself as an OSI agent and even arrived at one crime scene carrying an AR-15 rifle and wearing a bullet proof vest. The white sedan Priest was driving had police lights.

RPD had recordings of Priest at crime scenes impersonating a federal officer. Priest had been discharged from the Air Force in Feb. 2019 for misuse of a military credit card.

In addition, Priest made a traffic stop on April 9, 2020, identifying himself as an undercover federal agent at Moody Air Force Base. The victim driving the car told authorities that Priest was armed, was wearing a bullet proof vest and that Priest’s vehicle had police lights with a public announcement system to give the victim orders during the incident. Priest called the stop in to 911, reporting himself as an undercover MAFB agent. Bodycam footage from the scene showed Priest was armed.

In October 2020, Priest impersonated an FBI agent, telling a fraud victim that he was an agent who could help her start a case if she paid him $85. The victim gave him $85, and days later Priest accused the victim of lying to him about the case and threatened to press charges against her for her “criminal intent and fraudulent misconduct.” Priest told the victim that she had made false statements, and that he put his name on the line and gave her a discount with the courts to open the case. Priest then told the victim he had to pay a $150 fine and threatened the victim that warrants were going to be taken out for her. The victim paid Priest the $150 demand.

This case was investigated by FBI, Lowndes County Sherriff’s Office and Remerton Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sonja Profit is prosecuting the case.

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(c) 2021 The Albany Herald

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