LOS ANGELES – A former private security employee at an Orange County retirement community pleaded guilty today a felony charge for pretending to be a federal agent.
Donovan Pham Nguyen, 34, of Orange, pleaded guilty this afternoon to one count of impersonation of a federal officer.
According to his plea agreement, Nguyen began working at the retirement community’s private security company in 2015. While employed there, Nguyen falsely told his coworkers that he was a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). On different occasions, Nguyen used that falsely assumed title to conduct traffic stops of his coworkers and search them, neither of which he was permitted to do as part of his actual job.
Nguyen admitted in his plea agreement that, in May 2019, he falsely claimed to be a special agent with HSI to the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) as DSS agents were preparing to execute an arrest warrant on the premises of Nguyen’s job site.
He further admitted that he falsely told a Riverside County District Attorney’s Office employee in June that he was an HSI special agent, and then discussed a pending investigation – including HSI’s involvement – with the employee.
United States District Judge Dolly M. Gee has scheduled a February 3 sentencing hearing, at which time Nguyen will face a statutory maximum sentence of three years in federal prison.
This matter was investigated by HSI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Professional Responsibility. The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, DSS, and the Orange Police Department provided assistance.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys John A. Balla of the Riverside Branch Office and Jerry C. Yang, Chief of the Riverside Branch Office.