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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

Monday, November 10, 2014

Forestville Man Pleads Guilty to Impersonating a Federal Officer


Attempted to Perform a Traffic Stop and Called Police When the Driver Ran Away


Greenbelt, Maryland – Joseph Lewis, age 53, of Forestville, Maryland pleaded guilty today to impersonating a federal officer.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Chief of Police Robert D. MacLean of the U.S. Park Police; and Special Agent in Charge Darrell Gilliard of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Washington Field Office.

According to his plea agreement, on December 19, 2012, Lewis made a 911 call to request help after he had attempted to initiate a traffic stop on Suitland Parkway, and the driver had run away. Lewis identified himself as an off duty Department of Defense (DOD) Police officer to the U.S. Park Police dispatcher. When Park Police officers arrived at the scene, Lewis displayed DOD police credentials and had a police badge hanging on a chain around his neck. Lewis also had a semi-automatic handgun in a holster on his waist and handcuffs. Lewis was operating a brown Chevrolet Suburban with law enforcement registration, which was equipped with flashing red and blue lights on the front, sides and rear of the vehicle.

In fact, Lewis was not a DOD police officer and was not authorized to carry police credentials, a police badge or a firearm. The Suburban was Lewis’ personal vehicle. A search warrant executed at Lewis’ home on January 9, 2013, recovered numerous items of police gear, including three handguns, ammunition, handcuffs, mace, batons, stun guns, DOD police officer credentials and law enforcement officer badges and patches.

Lewis faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison. U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm has scheduled sentencing for February 13, 2015, at 9:00 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the U.S. Park Police and Naval Criminal Investigative Service for their work in the investigation, and thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah A. Johnston, who is prosecuting the case.

Updated January 27, 2015