A man accused of posing as a federal marshal in order to send his sister-in-law back to her home in the Philippines was indicted Friday by a federal grand jury.
According to the indictment, Gregory Denny, 38, of Hemet, went to Cherrie Bell Hibbard’s home on Jan. 15. He told her he was a law enforcement officer, handcuffed her and said he was going to deport her to the Philippines.
Hibbard told police Denny was wearing what appeared to be a badge with a federal logo around his neck, a gun belt and a pistol.
Denny and his wife Karen, 52, then took Hibbard to the Border Patrol station in Murrieta where he identified himself as a U.S. Marshal, presented false credentials and claimed Hibbard had an arrest warrant issued.
Border Patrol agents said there was no warrant and refused to take her into custody.
The Dennys returned with Hibbard to Hemet, where they told her husband to purchase a plane ticket and send his wife home, according to the indictment.
A few hours later, Denny allegedly took Hibbard to the San Diego airport, telling her that if she did not leave the United States he would arrest her and her husband and they would go to jail for five years.
At the airport, the indictment alleges Denny took her to a security checkpoint, falsely identified himself as a U.S. Marshal and told Transportation and Security Administration personnel that he was escorting a prisoner to a flight. Denny made it to the boarding area, and helped her board the plane.
Denny, who formerly worked as a bounty hunter, is a cousin of Hibbard’s husband, but authorities have given no motive for the bizarre hoax.
It was also unclear whether Hibbard ever returned to the United States or if she had been in the country illegally.
The Dennys are charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, kidnapping and aiding and abetting and being an impersonator making an arrest or search.
Gregory Denny is also charged with entry by false pretenses to a secure area of an airport and making a false statement to a federal officer.
The Dennys are expected to appear in court Monday.