Boston - A former Cape Cod man was convicted today of impersonating an officer of the United States.
Mark E. Daniel, 49, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to impersonating a federal agent.
Between June 7 and August 8, 2012, Daniel pretended to be a high-level special agent with the Department of Homeland Security assigned to the White House. Daniel carried out this ruse in his dealings with a locally-based photographer. The impersonation started when Daniel, posing as a federal agent, entered the photography business and engaged its female owner in conversation. Daniel told the owner that he was a federal agent, displaying a gold metal star-shaped badge along with identification in a black leather case. Daniel told the owner that he would like to hire her to photograph a private party which was to take place on July 7, 2012 at the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port. Daniel claimed the event would be attended by high-profile politicians and government leaders, to include Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President of the United States (POTUS) Jimmy Carter.
Thereafter, Daniel carried out his impersonation ruse in future in-person meetings, emails and phone calls. Most of the phone calls were consensually recorded by the owner. In their numerous conversations, Daniel explained that he was National Security and that he handled the Secret Service. According to Daniel, his agency was responsible for the security of the United States, the Constitution and the Presidency. Daniel advised that in his job he frequently spoke with the POTUS, Vice President, Chief of Staff and other White House staff members and that he had “100% access to the White House.” To legitimize this assertion, Daniel sent the owner photographs of President Obama in the Oval Office, explaining that he’d taken the photographs himself. Daniel also offered to introduce the owner to White House photographer, Pete Souza; Daniel told her that he regularly interacted with Souza while working in the White House and while she was listening he purported to call the White House and set up a lunch meeting with Mr. Souza.
In carrying out his impersonation, Daniel arranged various details of the proposed Hyannisport photography event; notably, Daniel asked the owner to provide photographs of herself and her female assistant, explaining that full body photographs and “head-shots” were necessary for security purposes. Daniel instructed that the photographs should depict the day and evening attire that the owner and her assistant planned to wear to the event, explaining that Secretary of State Clinton would need to approve the selected outfits. The owner provided the requested images to Daniel. As the date of the alleged event neared, Daniel told the owner that the event had been cancelled due to a security breach. Shortly thereafter, Daniel told the owner that he would be accompanying presidential candidate Mitt Romney to the Republican National Convention and that he wanted her to accompany him to photograph this four day event. As with the earlier event, because she would be in close proximity to Mr. Romney, Daniel would have to pre-approve all of the owner’s outfit/clothing selections. In another conversation, Daniel claimed that he would be accompanying President Obama to the London Olympics and asked if she wanted to join him on Air Force One to photograph the trip.
The impersonation scheme unraveled as the owner became suspicious of Daniel, contacted law enforcement and began cooperating with law enforcement. Daniel was arrested at the Barnstable Airport in Hyannis on August 8, 2012 where he had planned to meet the owner as he was purportedly disembarking from a flight from Washington, D.C.
Judge Gorton scheduled sentencing for January 17, 2013. Daniel faces up to three years in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Gregory K. Null, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, made the announcement today. The United States Secret Service, the Hanover Police Department and the Barnstable Police Department assisted in the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Freniere of Ortiz’s Public Corruption & Special Prosecutions Unit.