DEA

DEA Agent Creates Fake Profile With Photos Pilfered From Woman's Seized Phone

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Sondra Prince photo used by DEA
Facebook

Although Facebook is part of a movement to use real identities online—"Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity," CEO Mark Zuckerberg once said—there are at least 83 million fake profiles on Facebook, by the company's own estimation. Like the old joke about the mathematician in Scotland, we know at least one of those profiles is a federal agent's.

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and one of its agents, Timothy Sinnigen, have found themselves in court after Sinnigen pilfered the seized photos of a woman named Sondra Prince and created a fake profile to bust an alleged drug ring in New York City. Prince has sued Sinnigen and the DEA and the case is in mediation. The Washington Post reports:

One matter that's agreed upon by all parties: Sinnigen, who is claiming qualified immunity from the suit, created the profile and posed as her in contacts with at least one fugitive connected to a DEA investigation.

"Sinnigen posted photographs from [Prince's] phone, to which he had been granted access, to the undercover Facebook page," an August court filing by the government states. "… Defendants admit [Prince] did not give express permission for the use of the photographs contained on her phone on an undercover Facebook page, but state [that Prince] implicitly consented by granting access to the information stored in her phone."

Translation: All the pics were fair game. Even ones showing Prince scantily dressed, which Sinnigen used in the fake profile. "Defendants admit that in one photograph of [Prince] that was used on the undercover Facebook page, [she] was wearing either a two-piece bathing suit or a bra and underwear," the filing states.

The DEA believed Prince was a girlfriend of the alleged drug ring's leader and she pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute (that is a real charge in the war on drugs). Sinnigen used his knowledge of her boyfriend and her to impersonate her better. Other cops admit to using fake Facebook profiles in their investigations, for things like finding illegal punk shows, but the practice runs afoul of the company's policy.

Related: In 2012 two Texas pre-teens were charged with online impersonation for creating a fake Facebook profile of another girl.

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  1. This would seem to be the most despicable and egregious of all crimes: Copyright violation. If the FBI goes after this guy, I’ll temporarily suspend my position on IP.

    1. She should file a police complaint for criminal impersonation. The only defense to that charge in New York would be that they didn’t intent to harm her reputation. See the documentation of the leading case in this area at:

      http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

  2. Nice, so the feds can use YOUR identity to deal with potentially dangerous people online.

    There’s only one answer to Facebook: Dele-eeeete.

  3. They really are the worst form of scum aren’t they?

    Every dollar spent on pursuing contraband is a dollar diverted from catching the people who commit real crimes with actual victims. Every DEA agent is an accessory after the fact to murders, rapes and kidnappings.

    Which is why when I rise to power, I will pitilessly send them all finish their worthless lives out in the boats.

    1. I thought you meant FB at first- in which case I’d doubly agree.

    2. They believe that drugs cause crimes like murders, rapes and kidnappings. So by focusing on drugs, they honestly believe they are preventing crime.

      So much so that they will often not even bother to investigate actual murders, rapes and kidnappings, because they figure their resources are better spent on preventing those crime by going after drugs.

      1. It’s pretty clear that’s exactly what happened with the triple homicide in Waltham that was likely carried out by the older Tsarnaev brother.

        Rather than investigate, the Waltham cops sat on their asses, expecting that someday they would arrest a drug dealer, who would then tell them what happened in exchange for leniency.

        Surprise, surprise, it turned out that the murderer wasn’t involved in the drug trade, and would go on to kill and maim a score of people at the Boston Marathon. It’s apparent that if they had done anything more than a cursory investigation, Tsarnaev would be their prime suspect.

        1. They rarely do anything more than a cursory investigation unless the victim has connections to the political class or gets media attention. Especially if it is drug related. As far as cops are concerned, victims of drug related violence deserve whatever they get.

  4. “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg once said

    Says the miserable skunk who has spent his entire career mining the personal lives of people- most of whom are literally too dumb to care.

    Without an exact identity your company’s tracking, storage, and mining of millions of points of human data across a massive platform becomes an exercise in futility that no decent marketer could conceivably utilize for profit.

    So, therein lies the rub. We require your identity to prove you are real so we can get rich off your stupid fucking surrender of all that defines you and then I, Mark Zukerberg, a lying sack of trash, will market your LACK of provable identity as a LACK of integrity.

    Guy reads like a goddamn nasty billionaire cop.

    1. That’s about the way I see it.

  5. Defendants admit [Prince] did not give express permission for the use of the photographs contained on her phone on an undercover Facebook page, but state [that Prince] implicitly consented by granting access to the information stored in her phone.”

    Actual translation: the cops told her she’d spend the rest of her life cleaning carpet in prison, but they’d go easy on her if she let them look through her phone. Then they took her photos without telling her and used them to make a fake facebook profile.

    1. Their argument is patently retarded. Essentially, they’re saying that if you’re arrested, at some point they’re going to look through your wallet. At which point they have implicit consent to use your credit cards.

      1. Well, yeah.

      2. At which point they have implicit consent to use your credit cards.

        … and vagina?

  6. You cannot expect a federal law enforcement agent to know identity theft is illegal. That’s an onerous and completely unrealistic burden.

    1. It’s just a mistake of law. You can’t expect law enforcement officers to be perfect 100% of the time.

      1. As long as he was acting under a reasonable interpretation of the law . . .

  7. Where is Tundra’s hat tip?

  8. the cops told her she’d spend the rest of her life cleaning carpet in prison, but they’d go easy on her if she let them look through her phone.

    Gud pleece wurk!

    smoochiz

    1. It’s the New Professionalisms!

  9. Funding Payoffs by the DEA, NSA, FBI Uncle Sam must be filling Zuckerberg’s secret accounts to bursting! $$$

    1. That and Zuckerberg is a government’s wet dream come to pass.

      1. And what better wet dream could a rabid anti-privacy government every have than a big Zuckerberg sitting in their lap whispering half the world’s secrets into their nasty little, fascist ear-hole?

        1. El correcto.

  10. The DEA believed Prince was a girlfriend of the alleged drug ring’s leader and she pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute (that is a real charge in the war on drugs).

    Soon enough we’ll have charges like Conspiracy to think about possessing with the idea of distribution as an afterthought.

    1. Eventually they’ll just charge everyone with Conspiracy to maybe think about possibily committing a crime that may or may not involve distribution of drugs. And you don’t know this yet, but you resisted arrest.

  11. Related: In 2012 two Texas pre-teens were charged with online impersonation for creating a fake Facebook profile of another girl

    It’s different when the King’s Men do it. Also, DRUGZZZ!!1!!!!!

    Lastly, that’s her in the picture? I would…

    1. So long to the wonderful “Wild West” days of the Internet. …sigh

  12. Sinnigen, who is claiming qualified immunity from the suit…

    Yeah, that’s all we need to know right there. End this bullshit now.

  13. Sinnigen? Any relation to the “Smidgen” the president often talks about?

    1. “Swidgen! Cocksucka!”
      -Wu

      1. “Yeah, glad I taught you that fuckin’ word.”
        -Swearengen

  14. Mr. Krayewski, why could you have not made clear in your summary, as the Post article did, that Prince was already a suspect in a drug conspiracy? I read your summary as some kind of fuckup by DEA wherein their construction of a fake identity led to a prosecution of the real person. Had to go to the referenced article for clarif’n.

  15. That’s nothing. Check out this: http://www.latimes.com/local/l…..tml#page=2

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