Delta Worker Charged with Impersonating Federal Marshal
Abdirahman Hassan, 31, of Chelsea, Massachusetts has worked for the airline for a decade but has never been an air marshal, the U.S. Attorney Office's in Boston said today.
But that's not what he claimed when he tried to get a Boston auto body shop to charge his insurance company for damage to his car that he said occured in a crash in December.
While arguing with the insurance company and the body shop – which accused him of trying to collect on damage they believed occurred to his 2000 Kia Sportage after the crash -- Hassan responded, "I wouldn't do that. I'm a U.S. Marshal,'' according to a criminal complaint released by federal prosecutors today.
The attempted insurance fraud was reported to the Violent Crimes Task Force in Massachusetts by Eagle Hill Auto Body, which is close to Logan Airport, and Pilgrim Insurance after an adjuster compared photos of the damage to the car immediately after the accident and when Hassan delivered the car to the shop, according to a criminal complaint obtained by AOL Travel News.
The lies did not stop there, the complaint alleges. An insurance adjuster asked Hassan if he could record a follow-up interview about the damage to the vehicle. Hassan consented and was recorded during a visit to his home saying that he had been a federal marshal for nine years.
He went as far to wear a pistol strapped to his hip, the complaint alleges. He had an earpiece "commonly worn by the U.S. Secret Service,'' the complain states.
"Are you the type of air marshal who flies on planes?'' the adjuster asked Hassan. "Yes,'' Hassan replied, adding that he earned $4,500 a month as a federal marshal.
Hassan then harassed the insurance adjuster about his claim, according to the complaint, telling him: "I need to move this along. I'm very busy flying all over the country as a U.S. Air Marshal. I need my car."
A TSA official at Logan Airport, Glen Veteri, said in the complaint that Hassan was never an air marshal, but had worked at Delta for ten years. Hassan is a naturalized citizen who came to the country from Somalia in 2007, prosecutors said. He has a valid firearm permit for two guns he owns.
Delta spokeswoman Gina Laughlin tells AOL Travel News that Hassan is currently suspended pending an internal investigation. "Delta is cooperating with law enforcement officials in their investigation," she says.
A person familiar with security at Logan says there is no indication Hassan ever pretended to be an air marshal at the airport.
Hassan is charged with falsely impersonating a Federal Air Marshal. If convicted he could be imprisoned for up to three years and subject to a $25,000 fine.
The insurance fraud case is ongoing and Hassan could face additional charges from the state, prosecutors say.
(Fran Golden contributed to this report.)
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