MIAMI – A Palm Beach County man pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to falsely impersonating a federal agent during a July cruise to the Bahamas while he was a passenger. The guilty plea resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Professional Responsibility (ICE-OPR), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Gopaul Parmanand, 41, of Palm Beach Gardens, pleaded guilty to impersonating an ICE Special Agent by fraudulently claiming to be a federal agent and by carrying and displaying a fraudulent badge.
According to court documents, Special Agents assigned to ICE-OPR responded to the Port of Palm Beach July 31 after receiving a call from CBP officers regarding cruise ship passenger Gopaul Parmanand. Parmanand was returning from a two-day voyage that originated at the Port of Palm Beach, with a stop in Freeport, Bahamas.
On July 29, while aboard the cruise ship Grand Celebration, Parmanand cut in front of other passengers to approach the shore excursion desk and asked how he could connect to the internet because he had to check his work emails. He then displayed a silver badge and stated that he was “Police ICE.” Cruise ship staff also provided information that Parmanand claimed to be a federal agent at other times during the voyage and also did so to Bahamian border authorities.
During an examination of Parmanand’s luggage upon his return to a U.S. Port of Entry, CBP officers discovered a silver object in the shape of a badge that bore the likeness of an ICE Special Agent badge along with a Department of Homeland Security seal at its center. Parmanand has never been employed by ICE, or any DHS component, in any capacity.
Parmanand is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robin R. Rosenberg on December 20, 2018, in West Palm Beach. The defendant faces a maximum statutory sentence of up to three years in prison.