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Minneapolis man admits to impersonating FBI agent in phony terrorism probe

A gavel cracks down. (Airman 1st Class Aspen Reid/U.S. Air Force)

A Minneapolis man pleaded guilty Wednesday to impersonating an FBI agent, including making up a phony name and badge number and falsely telling a victim that he was investigating the person for terrorism.

Federal prosecutors indicted Bernard Holmes last year on charges of impersonating a federal officer. According to his plea agreement filed Wednesday, Holmes passed himself off as “FBI Special Agent John Tidwell” and spoofed his telephone number to make it appear he was calling from the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office when he contacted the victim in the case in July 2017.

Holmes also provided a fake FBI badge number and told a victim, identified in court documents only as EGW, that he was investigating terrorism-related conduct involving the victim’s home, including evidence from a computer and IP address at the victim’s house.

U.S. District Judge Eric Tostrud has not yet scheduled a sentencing date for Holmes. His guilty plea carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison, supervised release for one year and a fine of up to $250,000 “or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greater,” according to the plea agreement.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota said Wednesday that the case against Holmes was investigated by the FBI and Bloomington Police Department.

Holmes has previously been convicted in Hennepin County of theft by swindle in connection with a $2 million mortgage fraud case involving multiple defendants in 2009. He also has past convictions for receiving stolen goods and assault in Hennepin County, according to court records.

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