George W. Lewis, Jr., 50, pleaded guilty Friday in District Court on St. Thomas to one count of impersonating a federal officer and one count of blackmail, U.S. Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced.
According to court records, in October 2014 Lewis befriended an undocumented immigrant and claimed to be an immigration agent employed by the Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations. He then manipulated the undocumented immigrant into a sexual relationship under the threat that he would have the undocumented immigrant deported from the United States.
District Court Judge Curtis V. Gomez ordered Lewis, who had been released on bond, to surrender to the U.S. Marshals Service on Jan. 4. Sentencing is scheduled for March 10.
Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, said such crimes make the public less likely to trust federal law officers.
“Regrettably, schemes like this involving the impersonation of federal officers potentially undermine the public’s confidence in their government and law enforcement," Melendez said. "HSI will continue to aggressively pursue those who exploit innocent individuals. Having people come forward to report such schemes is crucial to deterring this type of fraud and preventing others from becoming victims.”
David D’Amato, special agent in charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Professional Responsibility, Southeast Region, said: “This prosecution and plea represents the collaborative effort of the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility and Homeland Security Investigations, and sends a strong message that criminal acts such as those perpetrated by Mr. Lewis will be vigorously pursued."
D’Amato said people who attempt to take advantage of foreign nationals in the immigration system for any reason will not be tolerated.
"The motive of blackmail for personal gain is especially egregious,” he said.
The case was investigated by HSI and OPR. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Everard E. Potter.