Former Owner and Operator of Norfolk Dermatology Practice Sentenced for Stealing Over $310,000 in Government Benefits
BOSTON – A Melrose man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Boston on Monday to impersonating a federal agent.
Gjerji Pelushi, a/k/a “George Pelushi,” 28, pleaded guilty on Jan. 12 to two counts of impersonation of an officer of the United States. U.S. District Judge Denise J. Casper scheduled sentencing for April 8, 2015.
In 2014, the FBI received information about Pelushi from two victims who, like Pelushi, are originally from Albania. In separate interviews, both victims told agents that they had each paid thousands of dollars to Pelushi to assist them in obtaining a law enforcement job or in dealing with a law enforcement-related problem. One of the victims had a pending state court case which Pelushi promised to get dismissed. The victims paid for Pelushi’s help because he repeatedly told them he worked for the FBI.
During an undercover operation, agents recorded several telephone calls and meetings between Pelushi and the victims. On the recordings, Pelushi referred to himself as an FBI agent, confirmed he had taken thousands of dollars from both victims, and promised to use his connections as an agent to help them. In one meeting, Pelushi claimed to have patrolled this year’s Boston Marathon in plain clothes while armed and that “the Director” had told him and his fellow agents that if they “tell someone to stop and they reach for the bag, shoot them in the head!”
When Pelushi was arrested in August 2014, agents seized, among other items, a fake Harvard diploma and a private investigator manual. Pelushi ultimately admitted to agents that he had taken money from both victims and that he was not in fact an FBI agent.
The charging statute provides a sentence of no greater than three years in prison, one year of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Pohl of Ortiz’s Organized Crime Strike Force Unit.