Man Who Faked Being A Federal Agent On TikTok Sentenced To Prison
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Featured Image Credit: US District Court for the District of Minnesota
A man in Minnesota who faked being a federal agent online has been sentenced to prison, having attracted thousands of followers on social media after setting up a phony profile.
According to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Reyel Devon Simmons, 53, created a TikTok profile under the false name of ‘Rey Reeves’, racking up nearly 10,000 followers on the platform.
As part of his ‘impersonation scheme’, he used a profile photo that showed him wearing a law enforcement uniform, and regularly showed off equipment, badges and firearms in posts.
Simmons also explicitly referred to himself as a federal agent, but the DOJ confirmed he has never been employed by the Department of Homeland Security.
He has ‘never been a sworn law enforcement officer with any federal, state, or local agency, nor has he ever had the authority to act on behalf of any federal agency or department’, the DOJ said.
Simmons was also convicted of illegally possessing firearms – having been prohibited under federal law from possessing ‘firearms, ammunition, or explosives at any time’ due to a prior felony conviction in Colorado.
The FBI had received a tip that Simmons was pretending to be a federal agent with Homeland Security on 17 August 2021, with a complaint charging him the following month saying his TikTok profile showed him wearing ‘what appeared to be law enforcement gear, including a radio, a badge, and an assault rifle’.
According to court documents, Simmons carried a backpack - which he described as his ‘go bag’ - bearing the departmental emblem of Homeland Security.
It also contained a Glock handgun, a fake Homeland Security badge, and ‘other items related to Simmons’s supposed service in law enforcement and the military’.
Law enforcement seized eight firearms, including handguns and rifles, from Simmons’ residence after they were found in a ‘safe room’ or bunker that could be accessed only through a ‘hidden doorway located in a storage area of the basement’.
The DOJ said Simmons admitted to possessing unregistered silencers/suppressors, detonating cord containing the explosive pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN), a blasting cap, thousands of rounds of ammunition, body armour with law enforcement emblems affixed to it, and other law enforcement style badges, clothing, bags, and identification documents.
After pleading guilty to one count of impersonating an officer of the United States and one count of possessing firearms as a felon in January, Simmons was sentenced last week to 72 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
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