Convicted Felon Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Possession of Firearm/ Unlawful Possession of Federal Law Enforcement Badge
Reno, Nev. - Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada, James McGregor, United States Marshal for the District of Nevada, and Keith Heinzerling, Resident Agent-in-Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for the Las Vegas, Nevada Field Office, announce that MICHAEL LUGIAI, age 33, a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas today to being a Convicted Felon in Possession of a Firearm, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g)(1), and Possession of an Official Badge, Identification Cards or Other Insignia, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 701. LUGIAI also agreed to forfeit a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol and a .357 caliber revolver.
According to the court records, on or about April 16, 2002, at the Art Institute of Las Vegas in Henderson, Nevada, LUGIAI, an employee of the Institute, told a woman who was inquiring about the school that he was a Special Agent with the U.S. Marshals Service. MICHAEL LUGIAI also showed the woman a law enforcement badge and identification card identifying him as a Special Agent with the U.S. Marshals Service. LUGIAI then requested that the woman accompany him to his home to further discuss admission to the Institute. The woman became very uncomfortable, and immediately left the Institute and contacted the United States Marshals Service.
The court records further state that two other employees of the school, including the defendant's supervisor, advised law enforcement agents that the defendant had previously displayed his badge and stated that he worked for the U.S. Marshals Service, and that he had also boasted that he was a former Special Forces member in the U.S. Military. The U.S. Marshals Service badge used by the defendant was found in an office at the Institute. The badge was determined to be counterfeit.
A search warrant executed at the defendant's home at 549 Aspen Leaf in Las Vegas uncovered a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol on a shelf of the computer table in the defendant's bedroom, and a .357 caliber handgun on the night stand in the defendant's bedroom. Both guns were fully loaded. Investigation of the defendant's background revealed that in 1994, he had been convicted by the State of Illinois for False Impersonation of a Police Officer, a felony.
Two indictments were returned against LUGIAI by the federal Grand Jury in Las Vegas. On May 14, 2002, he was indicted for Making False Statements and Possession of Official Badge, Identification Cards or Other Insignia, and on June 12, 2002, he was indicted for the Felon in Possession Charge.
LUGIAI is scheduled for sentencing on January 24, 2003, before Chief U.S. District Court Judge Phillip M. Pro. Under federal statutes, LUGIAI faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the Felon In Possession charge, and up to six months in prison and a $100,000 fine for the Possession of the Official Badge charge. The actual sentence, however, will be dictated by the United States Sentencing Guidelines.
LUGIAI will remain in custody pending sentencing.
Deputies with the United States Marshals Service and Special Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, conducted the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Darin LaHood.