LAWFUEL – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for …

LAWFUEL – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Ed Moreno, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) Miami Field Office, announced that defendant Gabriella Ferroni-Carli, of Port St. Lucie, was arrested and charged for falsely pretending to be a registered diplomat in the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 915. If convicted, this felony charge could result in a maximum ten-year sentence.

On February 11, 2007, officers with the Stuart Police Department responded to a reckless driver report on Dixie Highway in Martin County, Florida. Before Stuart Police could respond, the driver of the car, Gabriella Ferroni-Carli, was involved in a one-car accident at Kiwanis Park in Stuart. Following the accident, Ferroni-Carli identified herself to the police at the scene by presenting a Florida driver’s license and an Italian Diplomatic Passport. Ferroni-Carli claimed to be a diplomat and also claimed “diplomatic immunity” regarding the accident. Subsequent investigation by the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service revealed that the defendant was not a registered diplomat inside the United States.

Defendant Ferroni-Carli made her initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Frank J. Lynch, Jr. in federal court in Fort Pierce, and was released on a $50,000.00 personal surety bond.

U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta stated, “Diplomatic immunity is sparsely claimed and strictly limited to foreign diplomats on our soil. We will aggressively investigate and prosecute individuals who fraudulently claim entitlement to this privilege.”

Edgar Moreno, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service(DSS) Miami Field Office, said, “The U.S. State Department’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of the Diplomat Program means every case of fraudulent claims for diplomatic immunity will be investigated and prosecuted. Diplomatic fraud is a serious crime with substantive national security, economic and personal consequences. DSS thanks the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Florida, along with the Port St. Lucie and Stuart Police Departments for their essential coordination and cooperation in apprehending Ferroni-Carli.”

The Bureau of Diplomatic Security is the U.S. Department of State’s law enforcement and security arm. The special agents, engineers, and security professionals of the Bureau are responsible for the security of 285 U.S. diplomatic facilities around the world. In the United States, Diplomatic Security personnel protect the U.S. Secretary of State and high-ranking foreign dignitaries and officials visiting the United States, investigate passport and visa fraud, and conduct personnel security investigations. More information about the U.S. Department of State and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security may be obtained at www.state.gov/m/ds.

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, Port St. Lucie Police Department and Stuart Police Department for their work on this case. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Theodore M. Cooperstein.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov/ or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov/.

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