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June 9, 2011

Department of Justice

United States Attorney William C. Killian Eastern District of Tennessee


INACTIVE CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION OFFICER PLEADS GUILTY TO FALSELY ALTERING AN IMMIGRATION DOCUMENT

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Tori Ferrari,32, of Knoxville, Tenn., pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to the felony charge of falsely altering an immigration document. Sentencing has been set for 9:30 a.m., October 20, 2011, before the Honorable Thomas W. Phillips, U.S. District Court Judge. Ferrari faces a maximum term of 10 years in prison, along with possible fines and a period of supervised release.

As set forth in the plea agreement, Ferrari was employed from 2002 to 2008, as an active law enforcement officer with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In 2008, due to a medical condition, Ferrari was placed in leave without pay status and began receiving workers’ compensation benefits. When placed in leave without pay status, Ferrari lost her powers as an active Customs and Border Protection officer. Nonetheless, on several occasions in 2010 and 2011, Ferrari presented herself as an active Customs and Border Protection officer to officials with the Center for International Education at the University of Tennessee. On those occasions, Ferrari offered to assist foreign students at the University of Tennessee with immigration or customs-related problems. On January 12, 2011, Ferrari, acting knowingly and without lawful authority, falsely altered the immigration documents of a dependent of an Iranian citizen who was studying at the University of Tennessee. At the hearing held today, Ferrari admitted to falsely altering the immigration documents.

William C. Killian, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, stated, “Actions such as these cannot be tolerated. It is especially disturbing that a former federal law enforcement officer would violate the very laws that they were sworn to uphold. Thanks to a citizen’s initial report, the authorities were able to stop this criminal activity.”

The investigation into Ferrari’s conduct was led by the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, with valuable assistance provided by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, as well as the University of Tennessee Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary Bolitho represented the United States.

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