ATLANTA - Atlanta FBI agents shut down a German website, which investigators say was selling counterfeit federal badges to U.S. citizens.
The FBI was tipped off to the website by Daniel Harbison, a Dunwoody man who was sentenced to federal prison after impersonating a DEA agent in Doraville.
When investigators executed a search warrant at Harbison’s residence, they discovered weapons, a DEA shirt and the badge, allegedly manufactured by Master-Equipment.
The FBI conducted two sting operations in which they purchased the replica FBI badges from Master-Equipment’s website. The fake badges were nearly identical to the FBI’s real badges, according to agents.
“The FBI has seized the website that Master-Equipment was using to sell its law enforcement badges to American citizens and throughout the world,” said Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey Davis.
The FBI believes the company ran a pretty large operation selling fake badges to U.S. citizens, and say the fakes could pose a security risk at places like airports.
“It is not like the FBI has uniforms or marked vehicles. We trust our badges, credentials to give the public the reassurance that we are official federal agents representing government business,” said Stephen Emmett, a special agent at the FBI.
The German company Master-Equipment has been charged with manufacturing, selling and smuggling realistic counterfeit badges.