A Minnesota man who impersonated a federal officer on TikTok was sentenced to 6 years in prison
- A Minnesota man was sentenced to six years in prison for impersonating a federal officer.
Department of Justicesaid Reyel Simmons pretended to be a DHS agent on TikTok.
A man in Minnesota who was convicted of impersonating a federal officer was last week sentenced to six years in prison after posing as a
Federal authorities said 53-year-old Reyel Devon Simmons created a TikTok profile last year using the fake identity "Rey Reeves." In videos on the account, he often identified himself as a federal agent and pretended to work for the DHS, according to the Department of Justice. He had more than 10,000 followers on the platform when he was charged, according to a DOJ statement.
Simmons made "several posts" that featured him wearing law enforcement gear and showed off badges and firearms, according to the DOJ. Along with impersonating a federal officer, Simmons was also convicted of illegally possessing firearms due to a previous felony conviction in Colorado.
According to the September 2021 complaint charging Simmons, his TikTok profile showed him wearing "what appeared to be law enforcement gear, including a radio, a badge, and an assault rifle." The FBI investigated Simmons after it received a tip about his TikTok profile.
According to TikTok's community guidelines, impersonating another person is against the platform's policy and can result in an account's termination. TikTok did not immediately return Insider's request for comment on Monday.
Simmons has never been a law enforcement agent, according to the DHS.
The person who reported Simmons to the FBI was a woman who met him on TikTok in February last year and started a romantic relationship with him, according to the September 2021 complaint. The two met in person on several occasions, traveling between Georgia, where she lived, and Minnesota.
They stayed at hotels in Minnesota and Simmons claimed that the DHS was picking up the tab, the woman told authorities. Simmons told the witness, identified only as B.A. in the complaint, that he was working on an undercover assignment, the complaint said.
B.A. told federal authorities that Simmons regularly wore law enforcement attire and carried around a Homeland Security backpack that he called his "go bag," according to the complaint. Simmons used a radio that she believed he was using to talk to other federal agents, she told authorities.
On one occasion she said she saw a long-barrelled rifle in his Ford truck. He told the woman he previously was a Navy SEAL and showed her a photograph of him in what appeared to be military gear.
The woman became suspicious of Simmons when she saw a comment on Simmons' TikTok that said he was impersonating an officer. Simmons set his TikTok account to private after he saw the comment, but B.A. contacted the person who provided proof of Simmons' true identity and his previous conviction in Colorado.
B.A. then conducted her own research online before contacting authorities, according to the complaint. She did not inform Simmons she had reported him, according to the complaint, and continued to speak with him.
She told officers he continued to post to TikTok pretending to be a law enforcement officer, the complaint said.
Simmons pleaded guilty to two charges in January as part of a plea deal. A public defender who represented him in the case did not return Insider's request for comment on Monday.
After serving his prison sentence, Simmons will be under supervised release for three years, according to the plea deal.
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