California

He posed as an ICE agent, cops say. Now he’s the one being detained

Farad Gharagozlou Bell, 63, used a fake badge and ID to pretend to be an ICE agent to harass a 15-year-old in Ventura, California, after the teen sold a guitar that Bell wanted to purchase, prosecutors say. Bell pleaded guilty Thursday to the December incident.
Farad Gharagozlou Bell, 63, used a fake badge and ID to pretend to be an ICE agent to harass a 15-year-old in Ventura, California, after the teen sold a guitar that Bell wanted to purchase, prosecutors say. Bell pleaded guilty Thursday to the December incident. U.S. Attorney's Office

Farad Gharagozlou Bell was angry that a 15-year-old boy had sold a guitar that he wanted to buy, prosecutors say.

So the 63-year-old man posed as an Immigration & Customs Enforcement agent, shoved the teen against a car in a Ventura, Calif., mall parking lot and seized his cell phone in December, reported The Ventura County Star.

Bell pleaded guilty Thursday to falsely impersonating a federal agent in a plea deal, according to the publication. The Simi Valley man could face up to three years in prison at his Oct. 1 sentencing, but prosecutors will recommend house arrest and community service.

On Dec. 2, Bell wore a fake badge with a U.S. Department of Homeland Security seal identifying him as an ICE special agent when he confronted the 15-year-old sitting in a car with his family outside the Pacific View Mall, reported KTLA.

Bell ordered the teen out of the car and shoved him up against it while searching him, according to the station. He took the boy’s cell phone and looked through it without permission, KTLA reported.

A bystander called police and Bell told officers that he worked for Homeland Security as an ICE special agent, reported KEYT. He showed police a card with three purported Department of Homeland Security seals marked “United States Identification.”

Bell later confessed that he had never worked for Homeland Security and that the badge and identification were fake, according to the station.

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