Man accused of impersonating federal agent in Florida Keys

Ivan Popov, 39, claimed to work for feds as he filmed medical emergency, police say

Ivan Popov (MCSO)

KEY COLONY BEACH, Fla. – Police arrested a 39-year-old South Florida man on two felony charges Monday after accusing him of impersonating a federal agent at a restaurant in Key Colony Beach.

According to an arrest report, on Jan. 27, after Key Colony Beach police responded to a medical call at the Key Colony Inn Restaurant & Lounge, located at 700 W. Ocean Drive, witnesses reported that Ivan Paul Popov was inside the restaurant claiming to be a law enforcement official.

Police said that Popov, who lives in Palm Beach County, was recording video of the medical emergency on his phone and told bystanders that he was a federal agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FBI, CIA and FEMA.

“When (a witness) asked Ivan to give them some room for emergency personnel, Ivan became irate and walked away,” Key Colony Beach police Officer Nicholas Niemiec wrote in the report.

Popov also told Niemiec that he worked for “Homeland Security and FEMA” and was recording the medical call to “make sure everybody was doing everything right,” the officer wrote in his report.

The report states that when Niemiec asked Popov if he had a DHS ID card or badge, he replied that his employer only gave him an “access letter” and was only able to provide the officer with his Florida driver’s license.

Police wrote that Popov’s story “changed many times” and he claimed to have been “battered” during the confrontation with witnesses.

The report states that Popov told police that he “recorded half the incident and might have captured the conversation” but then claimed to have deleted the video after Niemiec asked to see it.

Popov’s girlfriend showed police his phone and that the video had been deleted, the report states.

“When I offered to help recover the video from the deleted file, Ivan became visibly concerned, grabbed the phone and deleted the file in my presence and actively (destroyed) evidence,” Niemiec wrote.

Popov faced charges of impersonating a law enforcement officer and tampering with evidence.

He was scheduled to be arraigned in Monroe County court on Feb. 14.

About the Author:

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.