Hemet man pleads guilty to impersonating an officer in attempt t - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Hemet man pleads guilty to impersonating an officer in attempt to deport cousin's wife to the Philippines

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Hemet man pleaded guilty Tuesday to impersonating an officer while making an arrest, in an unusual case in which he deported his cousin's pregnant wife to the Philippines.

Gregory Denny Jr., 38, went to the home of Cherrie Bell Hibbard last Jan. 15 in Hemet, and told her that he was a law enforcement officer who was going to deport her from the United States.

Hemet police said Denny, a former bounty hunter, wore clothing with a federal logo, a badge around his neck, a gun belt and a holstered pistol.

Hibbard was taken by Denny and his 52-year-old wife, Karen, to the Murrieta Border Patrol station. There, Denny identified himself as a U.S. Marshal, presented a false badge and credentials and said his cousin was the subject of a federal arrest warrant, according to court papers.

Officers at the station said there was no warrant and refused to take Hibbard into custody, so the couple took her home. Denny called Hibbard's husband - a U.S. citizen - and told him to buy his wife a plane ticket to the Philippines, the indictment says.

A few hours later, Gregory took Hibbard to the San Diego airport, telling her that if she did not leave the country, he would arrest her and her husband and they would go to jail for five years.

She boarded an airplane and remained in the Philippines to deliver her baby.

When her family complained, police questioned Denny, who claimed to be a federal officer. He was arrested when investigators found he was not employed by a law enforcement agency.

Authorities never provided a motive for Denny's actions.

Gregory Denny faces up to three years in federal prison when he is sentenced on Jan. 24. His wife, who pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting his crime, could be given five years probation if she agrees to undergo mental health counseling.

Counts of kidnapping and false deportation will be dismissed at the sentencing hearing, per the plea agreement, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Parks.

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