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Probation for fake Italian 'diplomat'

Washington Post Editors

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

By Washington Post Editors  | October 7, 2010; 4:50 PM ET
Categories:  From the Courthouse, Schools, Spencer S. Hsu, The District  
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Comments

Not sure why he got off with a slap on the wrist. This was pretty clearly an illegal scheme to violate the traffic laws with impunity. At age 24, "youthful indiscretion" doesn't cut it anymore.

Posted by: krickey7 | October 7, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

people never seize to amaze me ; 0

Posted by: citizenp77 | October 8, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Can't wait to hear that explanation in his grad school interview...

"I see here Mr. Marino that you were arrested for impersonating an Italian diplomat. Can you tell me a little more about that?"

Just no good answers for that question...

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | October 8, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

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