Skip to main content
Press Release

Man Who Impersonated DOJ Investigator to Extort Mt. Pleasant Woman for Sex and Money Sentenced to Ten Years

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA — Brian Lydell Robinson, 39, of Warrenville, was sentenced to ten years in federal prison after pleading guilty to extortion and impersonating an officer of the United States.

Evidence presented to the Court showed that beginning in the Spring of 2019, Robinson used a dating app to contact a Mount Pleasant woman and solicit commercial sex. Using multiple telephone numbers controlled from a single device, Robinson then posed as a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigator working for the U.S. Attorney’s Office investigating a politically connected sex trafficker. Robinson threatened the victim by telling her that she would be prosecuted for prostitution, which would ruin her reputation, unless she assisted in an undercover operation against the sex trafficker who was, in fact, Robinson. In truth there was no investigation, and Robinson extorted money and sex from his victim by posing as the sex trafficker under investigation, the investigator, and a defense lawyer.

“The Defendant terrorized and exploited his victim through extreme deception and intimidation, and he deserves to go to prison,” said U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs. “We will not tolerate predators posing as law enforcement officers. Those who impersonate federal agents, or use the threat of federal prosecution, to exploit the public will encounter actual federal agents and real prosecution. If you have a question about whether a person is actually a law enforcement officer, call the agency using a publicly posted phone number and ask for verification.”

“Stopping those who pose as law enforcement to commit crimes is of utmost importance to law enforcement and the community,” said Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Ronnie Martinez, who oversees HSI operations in North Carolina and South Carolina. “This sentencing should send a clear message that we are on the hunt for these impostors.”’

“Impersonating an officer threatens the trust and respect law enforcement professionals work to earn every day serving our communities,” said South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) Chief Mark Keel, “SLED is proud to support the DOJ and HSI in investigations like these to ensure those who seek to prey upon our fellow citizens face the consequences.”

In outlining the scheme, the evidence presented to the Court also showed that after luring the victim across state lines and sexually exploiting her with this ruse, Robinson, acting as the sex trafficker supposedly under investigation, confronted the victim and told her that he knew that she was working for law enforcement. Robinson assured the victim that he could keep them both out of trouble through the services of a well-positioned defense attorney, but said that the victim would owe him money. After Robinson allegedly placed a call to the defense attorney, the victim was contacted by the fictitious federal agent, who claimed that his case had been temporarily suspended because of Robinson’s attorney.

Over the next seven months, Robinson extorted the victim for money to pay for non-existent legal services under the false premise that such services were needed to avoid federal prosecution. When the victim ran out of funds, Robinson extorted sex and pornographic materials from the victim in lieu of payment. The victim went to the police after Robinson demanded that she have sex with multiple men at the same time, and she became fearful that she would be abducted. Robinson has multiple prior convictions for offenses including forgery, obtaining property under false pretenses, and burglary.

United States District Judge Richard M. Gergel sentenced Robinson to 120 months imprisonment, to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision.  There is no parole in the federal system.

The case was investigated by HSI, SLED, and the Mount Pleasant Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chris Schoen and Elliott B. Daniels prosecuted the case.



Derek A. Shoemake (843) 813-0982

Updated September 20, 2022