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Press Release

Federal Jury Convicts Michigan Man of Impersonating an Assistant United States Attorney

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A federal jury found a Michigan man guilty today on charges of impersonating an Assistant United States Attorney.  After a two-day trial, the jury convicted Joseph Ziegler, 55, on two counts of impersonating a federal officer or employee.  

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, in April 2019, in an attempt to avoid an arrest or charge for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Ziegler told Deputies with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and Clay County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Samples that he was a U.S. Attorney on assignment by Mike Stuart.  Ziegler also told towing company employees that he was a Federal Prosecutor and would prosecute the towing company if the company did not return the vehicle Ziegler was driving, despite Ziegler not having any proof of ownership.

“Clearly not the type of person that could ever work for me. First - not smart. Second - an absolute fraudster. Finally - an absolute fake,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  “Impersonating a federal officer is a serious offense that we will prosecute every time. It can be potentially dangerous to the public and we will not tolerate it. If you want to work for me, you need to work hard, study hard, get awesome grades and be prepared to work even harder. My team doesn’t fake its way through.  It is the best and toughest United States Attorney’s Office in the nation.  I want to thank Clay County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Samples and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office for their work in this case.  I commend the work of Stefan Hasselblad and Monica Coleman, the real Assistant United States Attorneys on assignment by me, as well as the rest of our trial team.”

Ziegler faces 3 years in prison when sentenced on December 2, 2019.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation.  Assistant United States Attorneys Stefan Hasselblad and Monica Coleman prosecuted the case.  Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber presided over the trial. 


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Updated August 21, 2019