CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A man who impersonated an investigator with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in an extortion crime against a Mount Pleasant woman has been sentenced to ten years in federal prison.
Brian Lydell Robinson, 39, was sentenced to federal prison this week after pleading guilty to impersonating an officer of the United States to extort a Mount Pleasant woman for sex and money.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of South Carolina, the evidence presented in court revealed that Robinson used a dating app to contact a Mount Pleasant woman and solicit commercial sex during the spring of 2019.
Robinson used multiple telephone numbers controlled from a single device to pose as a DOJ investigator working for the U.S. Attorney’s Office investigating a politically connected sex trafficker.
He then threatened the victim by telling her she should be prosecuted for prostitution unless she aided in an undercover operation against the sex trafficker – who prosecutors said was Robinson.
Officials said there was no investigation and that Robinson extorted money and sex from his victim by posing as the sex trafficker under investigation, the investigator, and a defense lawyer.
After luring the victim across state lines and sexually exploiting her, Robinson confronted her saying he knew that she was working for law enforcement and promised to keep both of them out of trouble through a “well-positioned attorney,” according to evidence provided in court.
After Robinson allegedly placed a call to the defense attorney, the victim was contacted by the fictitious federal agent, who claimed that his case had been temporarily suspended because of Robinson’s attorney.
Robinson continued to extort the victim over the next seven months to pay for non-existent legal services. When the victim ran out of money, Robinson extorted sex and pornographic materials from the victim in lieu of payment.
Prosecutors said the victim went to the police after Robinson demanded that she have sex with multiple men at the same time, and she became fearful that she would be abducted.
Robinson has multiple prior convictions for offenses including forgery, obtaining property under false pretenses, and burglary.
He was sentenced to 120 months in prison by United States District Judge Richard M. Gergel, to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system.
“The Defendant terrorized and exploited his victim through extreme deception and intimidation, and he deserves to go to prison,” said U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs. “We will not tolerate predators posing as law enforcement officers. Those who impersonate federal agents, or use the threat of federal prosecution, to exploit the public will encounter actual federal agents and real prosecution.”
Boroughs said anyone who has a question about whether a person is truly a law enforcement officer, should call the agency using a publicly posted phone number and ask for verification.
The case was investigated by HSI, SLED, and the Mount Pleasant Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chris Schoen and Elliott B. Daniels prosecuted the case.