Boca Raton Resident Sentenced for Impersonating a Federal Official
Simon E. Zablah, 29, of Boca Raton, Florida, was sentenced by U.S. District Senior Judge Daniel Hurley in West Palm Beach to one year and a day in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, after pleading guilty to two counts of impersonating a federal official and one count of access device fraud. Zablah was also order to pay $3,500 in restitution.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Miami Field Office, and John F. Khin, Special Agent in Charge, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) Southeast Field Office, made the announcement.
According to documents and statements introduced in court, Zablah was stopped for speeding on April 8, 2015 by an officer of the Hollywood Police Department. During this traffic stop, Zablah presented a counterfeit identification card which falsely identified him as a Staff Sergeant assigned to United States Special Operations in order to get out of a $205 traffic ticket.
In April 2013, Zablah also falsely claimed to be a Sergeant First Class in the United Starts Army Reserve in order to obtain a job with a uniform supply company in Broward County. In August 2013, while working in the call center for this uniform supply company, Zablah obtained the credit card number of a customer which he then used to make six unauthorized charges totaling approximately $3,669. Zablah used the customer’s credit card to purchase items on the internet, including a personal computer, which were delivered to an address associated with the defendant in Fort Lauderdale.
Zablah admitted that in actuality he only served as a soldier in the United States Army for approximately two weeks in January 2005. Other that this brief service, Zablah has never been employed or otherwise associated with any branch of the military or law enforcement.
“The federal sentencing of Simon E. Zablah is a warning for others that the false impersonation of a member of the U.S. military or law enforcement will have legal consequences,” stated U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer.
“Falsely claiming to be a federal official to obtain something of value can and does have serious consequences,” said Michael A. D’Alonzo, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami. “Law enforcement took note of Simon E. Zablah’s scam and now he has a federal conviction and a prison sentence as a result of his actions. Let this serve as a lesson to other would-be impersonators.”
“Today's sentencing sends a clear warning to anyone who would impersonate a U.S. military member and make false claims about military service for personal and monetary gain,” said Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) Southeast Field Office. “DCIS will continue to work tirelessly to investigate fraud, waste, and abuse involving the Department of Defense."
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, DCIS, Hollywood Florida Police Department, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carolyn Bell.