VALDOSTA, Ga. (WRBL) — One former Air Force Airman pleaded guilty to impersonating an officer.
23-year-old Marlon De’Adrain Priest of Valdosta, Georgia pleaded guilty to two counts of impersonating an officer after making a traffic stop, scramming a victim by offering to solve a crime, and appearing at crime scene investigations armed under claims of being an officer and an employee of the United States.
He pleaded guilty to U.S. District Judge Louis Sands on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. Priest will face a maximum of three years in prison joined with one year of supervised release and $250,000 fine per count.
Priest’s sentencing is set for Jan. 20, 2022.
In a prepared statement, Acting U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary explained the impersonations.
“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 Attorney 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.”
Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta Chris Hacker also spoke on the impersonations and elaborated on the threats it poses to law officials and members of the public.
“Impersonating a federal officer for any reason puts the public and law enforcement officers at risk, especially when a firearm is used,” said Hacker. “The FBI is committed to keeping the public safe from scam artists like Priest, who undermine legitimate police encounters that happen every day.”
Court documents say an agent of Moody Air Force Base (MAFB) Office of Special Investigations (OSI) told FBI in Sept. 2020, Priest, a former Air Force Airman, was impersonating an OSI Agent.
Remerton Police Department (RPD) also reported to MAFB OSI that Priest had impersonated an officer on multiple crime scenes with an AR-15 rifle and bullet proof vest. The vehicle Priest took to crime scenes was a white sedan with police lights.
RPD shared bodycam footage of Priest at the multiple scenes he showed up to.
April 9, 2020, Priest made a traffic stop identifying himself as an undercover agent at MAFB. The driver told authorities similar descriptions of Priest claiming he had a bullet proof vest, a car with police lights and a PA system. At the stop, Priest called 911 telling dispatch he was an undercover MAFB agent. Police recordings showed Priest was armed at the scene.
Oct. 2020, Priest told a fraud victim that he was an FBI agent who could help her open a case at the price of $85. The victim paid Priest who later accused the victim of lying about the case and warned he would press charges for, ‘criminal intent and fraudulent misconduct.’
Priest used this threat against the victim, telling her he had to pay a $150 fine for her ‘criminal intent and fraudulent misconduct,’ to which the victim paid immediately.
Priest was previously discharged from the Air Force in Feb. 2019, for misuse of a military credit card.
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.