Wednesday, 26 August 2020

California retirement community security guard, 34, is arrested after 'faking being a federal agent for years, accompanying real officers on raids, parading in body armor and carrying firearms'

A man working security at an upscale California retirement community has been arrested and charged with impersonating a federal agent for years.  
According to a criminal complaint that was unsealed on Monday, Donovan Pham Nguyen, 34, of Riverside, pretended to be a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations, wore tactical gear, carried guns, drove around in a pickup truck equipped with police lights and a siren, and even accompanied real federal officers on a raid last spring. 
An affidavit filed with the complaint alleges that Nguyen never worked for HSI, although he previously was a privately contracted security guard at a Department of Homeland Security facility. 
Security guard Donovan Pham Nguyen, 34, has been charged with false impersonation of a federal officer, accused of pretending to be a Homeland Security Investigations agent for years
Security guard Donovan Pham Nguyen, 34, has been charged with false impersonation of a federal officer, accused of pretending to be a Homeland Security Investigations agent for years 

One of his duties was to print access cards for staff and visitors, according to the affidavit.  
Nguyen left that job in 2015 after an internal investigation was launched resulting from allegations that he printed fake HSI identification documents, according to the court filing. 
In May 2019, while working for a private security company at the Laguna Woods Village retirement community in Orange County, Nguyen allegedly presented himself as an HSI special agent to real agents with the US Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service preparing to execute an arrest warrant.
The affidavit stated that Nguyen wore a ballistic vest with a badge affixed to his chest and had a pistol strapped to his thigh, claimed he was on a terrorism task force and he was the first person through the door of the home the State Department agents were searching, reported The Los Angeles Times.   
In June 2020, Nguyen discussed a potential criminal investigation with members of the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office after an introduction from a mutual friend. 
At the meeting, Nguyen again claimed to be an HSI employee, according to the affidavit. Following the meeting, Nguyen informed the District Attorney’s Office that, after discussing the matter with his supervisor, HSI could not assist the district attorney in the investigation.
An affidavit alleges that Nguyen, who worked security at a retirement community, wore tactical gear, carried guns and drove a pickup truck with police lights and a siren
An affidavit alleges that Nguyen, who worked security at a retirement community, wore tactical gear, carried guns and drove a pickup truck with police lights and a siren
Nguyen allegedly used a false DHS identification to buy guns, which allowed him to avoid taking and paying for certain firearm safety courses required by California law. 
He also allegedly used his purported duties as an HSI special agent to excuse his frequent absences from work at a private security firm, where he has worked since 2013.
His coworkers at the firm reported seeing an HSI badge, a DHS plaque, and various tactical gear, including a ballistic shield, inside of Nguyen’s office. 
They also reported that Nguyen’s personal Toyota Tacoma pickup truck had been equipped with red and blue lights and a siren, which he allegedly used to pull over motorists, the affidavit states. 
Nguyen also allegedly handed out HSI memorabilia, mugs and coins to people at his office.
Nguyen’s LinkedIn profile posted his current employment as 'Department of Homeland Security Agent,' indicating he was employed with DHS since June 2008. Nguyen also appeared in a YouTube video that purports to be an interview of him as a long-time HSI special agent discussing immigration policies, according to the affidavit. 
Nguyen’s LinkedIn profile posted his current employment as 'Department of Homeland Security Agent'
He never worked for HSI, although he previously was a privately contracted security guard at a Department of Homeland Security facility
Nguyen’s LinkedIn profile posted his current employment as 'Department of Homeland Security Agent.' He never worked for HSI, although he previously was a privately contracted security guard at a Department of Homeland Security facility
David Prince, the special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations’ Los Angeles office, told the Times that Nguyen and his family on Monday told agents that he had made multiple failed attempts to get a job with several federal agencies.
Nguyen had wanted 'to do something that would perhaps make his family proud,' Prince said.
Investigators executed search warrants on several sites Monday allegedly connected to Nguyen and seized dozens of long guns and pistols; silencers; body armor; shields and badges. 
According to Prince, Nguyen had also used Homeland Security letterhead to buy high-capacity magazines that are not available to the general public. 
'This guy amassed an arsenal that could have outfitted a third of my office,' Prince said, adding that Nguyen's behavior 'shocks the conscience.'
Nguyen made his initial appearance in United States District Court in Santa Ana on Monday. If convicted of false impersonation of a federal officer, he could face up to three years in federal prison.  

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