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FBI impersonator who defrauded Ceres families found guilty of wire fraud, stalking

FRESNO, Calif. — A 44-year-old Arizona man is facing a possible five-year prison sentence and $250,000 fine for defrauding Assyrians living in Ceres while claiming he was an FBI agent and could help them obtain visas for their family members living outside the United States.

On Friday, after a four–day trial, a federal jury found Ivan Isho, 44, of Peoria, Arizona, guilty of two counts of wire fraud, one count of false impersonation of a federal officer, and stalking, announced United States Attorney Phillip A. Talbert.

According to evidence presented at trial, in 2016 and 2017, Isho pretended to be an FBI agent and claimed to members of the Assyrian community in Ceres that he could help them obtain visas for their family members living outside the United States. He displayed fake FBI credentials and a gun to pull off the ruse. They paid him thousands of dollars, including by means of interstate wire transmission, and provided him with copies of personal family documents. However, Isho has never been employed by the FBI and had no ability to help them to obtain visas for the victims’ family members. 

Additionally, between April and August 2017, Isho represented himself as an FBI special agent to a female victim whom he harassed by means of repeated phone calls and threatening and harassing voicemail messages to both her and her husband.

During his trial, Isho claimed he only possessed fake FBI credentials as part of a Halloween costume, despite recordings of voicemails he left in April 2017 and April 2018, claiming to be with the FBI. He further admitted to threatening the stalking victim with abusive language and various threats.

The case against Isho was investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laura D. Withers and Laura Jean Berger prosecuted the case.

Isho is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd on May 31. Isho faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.