United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that an Alabaster, Alabama, man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Impersonating a Federal Officer, and Interstate Stalking.
Michael Thetford, age 36, was indicted by a federal grand jury on December 14, 2011. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno on August 21, 2013, and pled not guilty to the Indictment.
The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to 10 years in custody, a $250,000 fine, or both; 3 years of supervised release; and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.
The charges relate to incidents that occurred in May 2010 when Thetford came from Alabama to South Dakota and harassed and surveilled a married couple from Hughes County. During this time of harassment, he wrongfully represented himself as a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent, and provided the couple with a fake name and FBI credentials. He also possessed and wore a handgun during his exchanges with the victims. Prior to May 2010, Thetford had been convicted of other felony offenses and was prohibited from possessing a firearm.
The charges are merely an accusation and Thetford is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The investigation is being conducted by the FBI, South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigations, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Maher is prosecuting the case.
Thetford was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial. A trial date has not been set.