Stunning drone video from April 6 and April 11 in Sevier County shows empty parking lots and very little traffic in an area that’s usually very busy.
Knoxville News Sentinel
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – An Indiana man who conned a Pigeon Forge hotel into giving him thousands of dollars in discounts as he posed as a U.S. Marshal — complete with a fake badge — has pleaded guilty to impersonating a law enforcement officer.
A suspicious hotel manager partnered with real U.S. Marshals to bust him, according to court records.
Anthony Taylor entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court for years of tricking Spring Hill Suites Hotel desk clerks. The plea agreement explains he received at least 10 discounts over a five-year period, totaling $2,950.
“The defendant always paid in cash and on more than one occasion told the desk clerk collecting the payment to wash her hands after handling the money as it was confiscated drug money he had received as bonuses for ‘busts,’” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Kolman wrote in court records.
Kolman wrote in court records that Taylor had visited the hotel “on at least 10 different occasions” from 2014 to April 2019. Each time, she wrote, he flashed a badge and claimed to be a deputy U.S. Marshal entitled to discounts offered government employees.
When Taylor made a reservation for an April 2019 visit, a hotel manager decided to check with the U.S. Marshal’s Service to verify Taylor’s employment. When Taylor and his wife – who stayed behind in the couple’s car – arrived for that visit, two deputy U.S. Marshals in plainclothes were waiting in the lobby, Kolman wrote
The pair watched Taylor claim to be a deputy U.S. Marshal and ask for the discount. He again paid in cash, Kolman wrote.
“The (real) deputy U.S. Marshals approached (Taylor), identified themselves, and asked (Taylor) if they could speak to him,” she wrote. “(Taylor) agreed. The interview was extremely brief, literally seconds. (Taylor) was asked one question: Why are you telling the hotel employees that you are a DUSM? To which the defendant replied, ‘I was doing it to get the government discount.’
“(Taylor) was then read his Miranda rights and shown the Miranda waiver form for his signature, which he acknowledged, but then refused to speak with the (deputy U.S. Marshals),” Kolman wrote.
The two deputy U.S. Marshals then went outside to try to interview Taylor’s wife, who was still sitting in the couple’s vehicle, Kolman wrote.
“(Taylor) ran out of the hotel and instructed his wife not to speak with the (marshals),” she wrote.
Taylor was not arrested – though he later claimed through attorney Randy Reagan his car was illegally searched and his rights violated, court records show. The U.S. Attorney’s office presented the case to a federal grand jury, which returned an indictment in August 2019.
Taylor was served a month later in Indiana, court records show. He struck a plea deal in September. A sentencing hearing date had not yet