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Man Arrested for Impersonating Federal Officer During Hurricane Irma Relief

A man in Puerto Rico was charged for impersonating a federal law enforcement officer acting under the authority of the United States, according to a statement from the DOJ.

On September 12, Philip Freed gained access to a federally restricted area of the Puerto Rico Airport and made materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements or representations to DSS special agents during the course of the investigation, all while portraying to be a federal law enforcement officer helping with Hurricane Irma’s relief efforts.

Freed was arrested by the Diplomatic Security Services and if convicted, faces up to three years in prison.

“The Diplomatic Security Service is firmly committed to working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to investigate this crime,” said Resident Agent in Charge Richard Hays of the DSS San Juan Resident Office. “Impersonating a federal law enforcement officer while our nation reels from the recent natural disasters is especially concerning. Our special agents – many of whom still do not have power in their homes – showed exceptional professionalism and dedication as they pursued this case.”

This was the first criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico new  Task Force working against fraud related to Hurricane Irma recovery efforts and serves as a reminder to be wary of trusting anyone purporting to be working on behalf of disaster victims.

 

Posted in The Takedown

Tags: DOJ, natural disasters

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