I was interested in the legality of impersonating a Federal Agent/Officer, and upon a Google Search it only seems to be illegal if you try to obtain something of value in such a persona. There are still lots of situations left uncovered.

  • Gaining access to a (non-government) centre via impersonation
  • Convincing a person to stop questioning your actions via impersonation
  • Asking/ordering a person to do something (i.e. ordering them to sound a fire alarm) via impersonation
  • Exercising power over other Government employees in such impersonation
  • Instructing people on what to do in an emergency
  • Instructing people to evacuate/leave the area (assuming there is a legitimate emergency)

Let's assume in these situations that said person is impersonating an employee not a law enforcement agent.

What would be the legality of the above points?

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    Everything you have listed is "something of value". At law, valuable consideration includes the power to do or not do things. – Dale M May 16 '17 at 20:22

Firs, at law, all of the things you name are "something of value", the ability to go places and do things you normally couldn't go or do is valuable.

However it doesn't matter. The actual crime is 18 U.S. Code § 912 - Officer or employee of the United States:

Whoever falsely assumes or pretends to be an officer or employee acting under the authority of the United States or any department, agency or officer thereof, and acts as such, or in such pretended character demands or obtains any money, paper, document, or thing of value, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

Simply acting as an officer or employee is enough.

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  • So if I pretend to be a federal employee that isn't doing their job that's not a problem? – user4460 May 17 '17 at 15:41
  • @notstoreboughtdirt sure - feel free to go to a fancy dress party as an FBI agent, a soldier or the president. – Dale M May 27 '17 at 4:28
  • I meant an incompetent one. Being seriously presented as an EPA inspector telling people there are unicorns on the moon. Making comments on unicorns isn't acting like an EPA inspector and isn't getting anything of value. – user4460 May 28 '17 at 12:56

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