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Tipsheet

A Dem Staffer Got Busted for Impersonating an FBI Agent, But That's Not Why He Was Sent to Prison

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Washington D.C. has many strange tales—all cities do. Some of us play cops and robbers in our younger days, though I’m sure some liberal family has a problem with the game due to political correctness. The point is that we outgrow these childhood pastimes, except for this Democratic congressional staffer who moonlighted as a federal agent illegally. Yes, he would open-carry a firearm and cruise around in an unmarked vehicle pretending to be an FBI agent. When neighbors asked, he would simply say it’s his “work vehicle.” You cannot make this up, but the reason he was sent to prison is also very in keeping with DC’s politics. 

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John Sexton first wrote about this over at Hot Air, citing an investigative piece from the Daily Beast. The fake agent’s name is Sterling Carter, a staffer for Democratic Congressman Brad Schneider of Illinois. Two years ago, two secret service agents noticed the unmarked car with an armed individual standing near it. He wore a shirt that read “federal agent” on it. Sexton added that court documents showed that Carter was convincing enough as a fake federal agent that locals thanked him for his service. Two secret service agents couldn’t get clear facial recognition but did run his plates which came up blank. That’s when a bike police unit was dispatched. 

Sexton said that when the cops approached Carter, he identified himself as FBI but refused to provide his credentials leading to him speeding off. The bike squad peddled after him but stopped citing “safety concerns.” 

Federal officials busted Carter after learning he bought his “federal agent” t-shirt from a shop in Florida, procured a complete list of those who purchased the item, and then narrowed the list of potential suspects to those who lived in the DC area. Yet, even after his apprehension by authorities, Carter went to jail not because he was a fake agent carrying a handgun in public. He wasn’t sent away on gun charges—it was that he gave himself an $80,000 raise by forging the name of the congressman’s chief of staff:

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An investigation was opened involving the Capitol Police, the Secret Service and the FBI. One Secret Service agent recognized the shirt the suspect was wearing and traced it back to a single shop in Florida. After receiving a list of everyone who’d bought that particular shirt, he narrowed it down to one person who lived in the DC area and matched the description of the suspect: Sterling Carter. Several weeks later, the investigators learned that Carter was a congressional staffer who worked for Rep. Brad Schneider, a Democrat from Illinois...

Carter was eventually arrested in Georgia. Investigators then learned that he’d given himself an $80,000 raise as a staffer by forging the name of Rep. Schneider’s chief of staff on documents. He was charged in that crime and pleaded guilty. He’ll be serving a 9 month sentence for the theft but prosecutors dropped the charge of impersonating a law enforcement officer and he avoided any prison time for illegally carrying a firearm in Washington, DC.

Is it a small potatoes case? You decide, but impersonating federal officers isn’t a slap on the wrist, especially when that person is also committing gun crimes that the rest of us would get jail time for, but I guess the sentence for essentially stealing close to $100,000 through an unauthorized salary raise was good enough. 

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