Utah man poses as federal agent to get VIP pass to Comic Con, enters plea

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah man facing criminal charges for posing as a federal agent to get into a $10,000-a-head VIP room at Comic Con in Salt Lake City agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors Tuesday.

Jonathon M. Wall, 30, pleaded guilty to impersonating a federal officer at the September 2015 pop-culture event where many people dress in elaborate costumes inspired by superheroes and science fiction movie characters. Prosecutors will drop a second charge of making a false statement in exchange for his plea.

Wall claimed he was an agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and needed a pair of passes to a lounge room for famous guests to catch a fugitive, according to charging documents. He showed conference staff a photo of a real wanted fugitive and said he was there with a 60-person crew, prosecutors said.

Wall acknowledged Tuesday that he flashed the federal identification he uses for his job at Hill Air Force Base. He said he came up with the idea on the spot and didn’t think a Comic Con staffer he tried it on believed him.

Wall never made it to the VIP lounge, but a security guard who heard the story got suspicious and called the Air Force, which sent agents to question Wall and confirmed he didn’t work for the military branch, the charges said.

U.S. District Judge Jill Parrish asked the prosecutor whether Wall was dressed in a costume and pretending to be a character like thousands of others at the convention. Prosecutor Carlos Esqueda said Wall was wearing shorts and a T-shirt, not a costume or uniform.

Wall, of Layton, faces up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine at sentencing set for June 9.

The comic book convention attracted about 120,000 people and featured “Captain America” actor Chris Evans.

Written by HALLIE GOLDEN, Associated Press

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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