Probation for fake Italian 'diplomat'
An American University student who forged license plates and put a State Department decal on his driver's license was sentenced Thursday to probation and community service for claiming diplomatic immunity during a traffic stop.
Nicholas A. Marino, 24, told a U.S. Secret Service officer he was an Italian diplomat after his black Mitsubishi Montero SUV was pulled over for speeding northbound on 15th Street Northwest at 2:40 a.m. Nov. 20.
Officer Robert Brown didn't buy it. It turned out that Marino, whose District license was suspended, paid a novelty store at a Kennesaw, Ga., shopping mall to make two fake diplomatic license plates using the country code for Italy. He stuck a copied State Department seal on the back of his license.
The fake tags weren't registered to the Montero, which was not owned by the Italian embassy and did not have a current registration. Marino pleaded guilty to unauthorized possession of official identification, a misdemeanor, and said he learned his lesson.
Marino, a full-time "hard-working student," told police many of his AU friends had diplomatic plates, but "realizes now this not only was a ridiculous way of trying to gain friends, but a criminal offense," according to court papers.
Marino was sentenced to two years of probation by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon, assigned a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. for 180 days, and ordered to perform 240 hours of community service, a court spokeswoman said.
Marino plans to graduate with a bachelor of science degree and pursue graduate studies, court papers said.
-- Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Editors
| October 7, 2010; 4:50 PM ET
Categories: From the Courthouse, Schools, Spencer S. Hsu, The District
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