Dem staffer given slaps on wrist for multiple weapons, theft, impersonation crimes

It was recently revealed that a staffer for a Democratic member of Congress impersonated a federal agent at a rally for former President Donald Trump in 2020 and subsequently eluded the U.S. Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies for several weeks before he was finally identified and charged.

However, aside from being forced to resign and pleading guilty to a reduced weapons charge, that staffer, identified as Sterling Devion Carter, has largely dodged full accountability for his heinous deception, the Conservative Brief reported.

The relatively lax punishment for the Democratic staffer also extended to a separate crime he had committed that was revealed in the investigation of his impersonation of a federal agent, as Carter received an exceptionally light sentence after pleading guilty to stealing public funds by way of fraudulently giving himself a raise.

Impersonating an armed federal agent

According to The Daily Beast, Carter, who served as the operations manager in the office of Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL), showed up at a post-election pro-Trump rally in Washington D.C. on Nov. 14, 2020, while wearing a black t-shirt that said “Federal Agent” along with a police belt bearing a holstered Glock handgun, spare magazines, and handcuffs, as well as an earpiece, and was standing next to a blue Ford Taurus that resembled an unmarked police car decked out with blue emergency lights, a spotlight, and a partition between the front and rear seats.

Secret Service agents grew suspicious of Carter due to his flashing blue lights, the odd placement of the spare magazines behind the holster on his belt, and what appeared to be fake D.C. tags on the vehicle. When they approached Carter to question him, the staffer simply moved his vehicle, but when approached again by agents on bicycles, he proclaimed himself to be an FBI agent and then sped off, leading agents in a brief high-speed pursuit before escaping.

Court documents detailed how a Secret Service agent, as part of a multi-agency investigation, eventually identified Carter through inquiries with the companies that sold the t-shirt he had worn and the fake D.C. license plate on his vehicle, but The Daily Beast noted that it wasn’t until three weeks after the incident that investigators finally figured out that Carter was a Democratic staffer on Capitol Hill.

When confronted with information about what Carter had done, Rep. Schneider’s office gave the staffer the option to resign or be fired. Carter chose to resign by phone while still on the run from law enforcement, though he kept his government-issued cell phone.

Though initially charged with falsely impersonating a public officer, fleeing from law enforcement in a vehicle, and weapons charges, The Daily Beast noted that the impersonation and fleeing charges were dropped and Carter pleaded guilty only to illegally carrying a firearm. He avoided any prison time and was instead enrolled in a diversionary program for first-time offenders.

Theft of public funds

In the midst of all of that, however, it was discovered that Carter, as Rep. Schneider’s operations manager — a role in which he oversaw payroll and bonuses for office staffers — had fraudulently given himself a raise and bilked taxpayers for nearly $80,000 in unearned payouts between November 2019 and January 2021.

According to an affidavit in February for his arrest on a charge of theft of public funds, it was detailed how Carter had essentially forged the signatures of Schneider and the congressman’s chief of staff to fraudulently authorize a bonus and raise for himself, though he kept that secret from his superiors by submitting false accounting spreadsheets that showed that he was still receiving his normal salary.

A Justice Department press release in April announced that Carter pleaded guilty to the theft of public funds charge and that he faced up to 10 years in prison for that crime.

However, The Daily Beast noted that Carter was only given a sentence of nine months in prison by a judge last week and was not remanded to custody but instead was allowed to remain free on that promise that he would eventually turn himself in to serve that minimal sentence in a federal facility.

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