A Democratic staffer faced some major legal problems after pulling a stunt at a Trump rally in 2020.
According to court documents, the Democratic staffer reportedly posed as an FBI agent at the rally before leading police and Secret Service on a chance through Washington, D.C. The documents noted that the suspect was finally arrested after a T-shirt he was wearing tipped off law enforcement.
Before he was busted, however, he secretly gave himself a huge raise of $80,000, a report said, citing the court papers.
The Blaze reports:
According to court documents, a staffer for Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) quietly resigned after he was accused of impersonating an FBI agent during a Trump rally on Nov. 14, 2020. Sterling Devion Carter allegedly showed up at a MAGA rally in Washington, D.C., but was posing as a fake FBI agent.
The Daily Beast added, “Carter, who was standing near his parked car, was wearing a black T-shirt that read ‘federal agent,’ a police duty belt, a Glock pistol, extra ammunition, handcuffs, a radio, and an earpiece.”
He apparently pulled off the hoax so successfully that, according to the report, people in the Trump crowd were thanking him for his service.
He was driving a blue Ford Taurus, which resembled an unmarked police vehicle. The car even had blue emergency lights, a driver’s door spotlight, a laptop mount on the dash, and its back seats that were partitioned off from the front in order to transport prisoners.
According to the report, Carter had turned on the flashing lights during the rally, which caught the attention of a pair of plainclothes Secret Service officers.
The court documents said that the officers noted that the vehicle’s license plate was much bolder and longer than normal tags from Washington, D.C., leading them to become suspicious so they ran the plates, which did not turn up any results.
The Blaze adds:
The officers went to inspect the unusual police cruiser and approached Carter. The law enforcement agents noted that Carter placed his pistol magazines behind his handgun – which would make it difficult for an officer to reload his gun during a firefight. The officers also noticed that Carter’s badge was unrecognizable.
Carter then got into his car and drove away with the emergency lights flashing.
The officers contacted the United States Secret Service Joint Operations Center to see if any other federal law enforcement agencies were assisting in controlling the crowds. There were no uniformed federal agents working that day.
Not long after five bicycle officers with the Secret Service managed to catch up with Carter and as they approached him, the Democratic staffer told the officers he was “FBI.” When the officers asked Carter to produce some valid credentials, he flipped on his emergency lights and sped away from the scene.
One agent took off after Carter on an electric bike, at times reaching speeds of 35 miles per hour during his pursuit through the D.C. streets. But eventually, the Secret Service agent broke off the chase for “officer safety reasons,” allowing Carter to elude him,
At that, the FBI, Secret Service, Capitol Police, and D.C. Metropolitan Police all launched an investigation into the incident, court papers and an accompanying report noted.
Secret Service Special Agent A. Pascual posited that the suspect bought the fake federal agent T-shirt from a Florida clothing store, a court affidavit said. He secured a list of every customer who had recently bought a “federal agent” tee from the store, 13 Fifty Apparel. Pascual narrowed down a list of 399 people to 21 who lived in the Washington, D.C., area.
The Blaze noted further:
The suspect was described by Secret Service agents as a black male, approximately 25-30 years old. Based on law enforcement databases, only one customer fit the description: Sterling Carter.
Pascual also investigated the fake license plates on Carter’s Ford Taurus. The investigator contacted a website that sells fake tags and asked if they had sold a license plate that matched the ones on Carter’s Taurus. The company said it had sold the fake plates to Carter, according to an affidavit.
However, law enforcement did not discover that Carter was a Democratic congressional staffer until three weeks after the Secret Service chase. During that time, Carter was a credentialed staffer who had access to the U.S. Capitol building.
After Schneider’s office was told about Carter posing as an FBI agent, the staffer was given the option to resign or be fired, according to court papers. Carter reportedly said he would resign, but he kept his government-issued cellphone, the reports said.
For over a year, Carter — who served as Schneider’s operations director and was responsible for payroll and bonus payments — gave himself an $80,000 raise, boosting his congressional staffer salary from $54,000 to $138,000.
After a manhunt, Carter was arrested in Georgia, his parents’ home state. In court, Carter admitted that he openly carried a handgun in D.C., which is highly illegal.
However, The Daily Beast reported, “Federal prosecutors dropped the law enforcement impersonation charge, and he narrowly avoided prison time (When Carter pleaded guilty at 24, he barely made the age cutoff to take part in a local District of Columbia prison diversion program for young first-time offenders, according to his lawyer).”
Carter pleaded guilty to “theft of public funds in connection with his scheme to fraudulently inflate his salary and bonus payments, thereby paying himself more than he was legitimately owed,” in February, according to a Department of Justice press release.
He was sentenced to nine months in federal prison last week over the theft of public funds. His lawyer said that Carter would be turning himself in soon to begin the sentence, reports added.
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