USAF Airman pleads guilty to impersonating FBI, OSI agent
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - A former U.S. Air Force (USAF) airman pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of impersonating an officer after he pretended to be a federal agent multiple times, according to a press release from the office of Peter Leary, the acting U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.
The release states that Marlon De’Adrain Priest, 23, of Valdosta, is facing a maximum sentence of three years in prison to be followed by one year of supervised release and a $250,000 fine per count after pleading guilty to two counts of impersonating an officer and an employee of the United States.
According to court documents, an agent with Moody Air Force Base Office of Special Investigations (OSI) contacted the FBI in September 2020 regarding Priest, who was impersonating an OSI Agent in the Valdosta area. The Remerton Police Department (RPD) had reported to Moody’s 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 bulletproof 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 February 2019, for misuse of a military credit card, according to the release.
Leary’s office said Priest also 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 bulletproof vest and his 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 Moody agent. Bodycam footage from the scene showed Priest was armed.
“Marlon Priest created a false appearance of authority and power to scam and intimidate his victims. Impersonating a federal agent is a serious crime that will not be tolerated in the Middle District of Georgia,” said Leary. “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.”
The release also states that in October 2020, Priest impersonated an FBI agent, telling a fraud victim that Priest 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.
“Impersonating a federal officer for any reason puts the public and law enforcement officers at risk, especially when a firearm is used,” said Chris Hacker, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta. “The FBI is committed to keeping the public safe from scam artists like Priest, who undermine legitimate police encounters that happen every day.”
Priest’s sentencing is scheduled for January 22, 2022.
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