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Press Release

Shaker Heights Man Indicted For Impersonating A Diplomat, Attempting To Buy House And Car With Fake Documents

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

A Shaker Heights man was indicted for impersonating a diplomat and attempting to buy a house and car using fictitious financial documents, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

Derek J. Bishop, 42, was named in a seven-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court. He is charged with fictitious obligations, impersonating a diplomat and wire fraud.

Bishop used fictitious Fifth Third checks in March 2013 to attempt to purchase a Nissan Armada for $54,098 from Ganley Nissan. He also tried to use fictitious checks to make payments to Verizon, AT&T, and Nationwide Insurance, according to the indictment. 

Bishop falsely claimed he was a foreign diplomat of the Vatican/Postmaster General of the Divine Province in an attempt to avoid paying taxes on the vehicle and to demand his release from the Cuyahoga County Jail, according to the indictment. 

Finally, Bishop used fraudulent trust documents in March 2013 to attempt to purchase property in Moreland Hills, Ohio, for more than $3.1 million. He attempted to purchase the property by providing Chicago Title Company LLC with false and fraudulent trust documents representing to be for the Bishop Family Trust, even though the trust had no assets or funds to pay the purchase price, according to the indictment.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew W. Shepherd following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.           

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.  In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated March 12, 2015