A 19-year-old New Hanover man is facing charges he impersonated a police officer to get confidential information from a cell phone carrier, police said.
Matthew Thomas Baumgartner, of the 2800 block of Homestead Court, was charged last week with two counts of impersonating a public servant in connection with incidents authorities allege happened in June 2013.
During those incidents, county detectives said Baumgartner identified himself as a law enforcement agency in paperwork he obtained and sent to Sprint.
That paperwork, used by law enforcement to request information on an emergency basis, was sent in for two separate cell phone accounts, according to court documents. Court papers state Baumgartner filled out the name of "Cyber Crime Response Agency" (CCRA) as the name of the law enforcement agency requesting the records, including a badge number.
Police reported Baumgartner described the emergency as "reports of forced sexual activities."
Authorities said Baumgartner also represented himself to state police as a cyber crime investigator and president and director of operations for the CCRA, an organization that claims on its website to investigate "spies, terrorists and pedophiles" and offers protection and services to the public.
Police said the website, which was still in operation this week, has a disclaimer that the organization is not a law enforcement agency. Court papers indicated that CCRA claimed to assist law enforcement agencies, but police had no evidence of any such work. According to court documents, a CCRA claim that the company contributed to the arrest of a California man running a "revenge porn" website was denied by the California Attorney General's Office, which investigated and prosecuted the suspect.
According to a Pennsylvania grand jury report recommending Baumgartner face criminal charges, the CCRA website, which appears professional, lists agency locations in Philadelphia, New York and Texas. Authorities allege CCRA is not registered with the Department of State, is not an IRS 501c3 as it formerly claimed and was soliciting donations online.
Police said they located evidence linking Baumgartner and the CCRA working on two cases, one involving a sexual assault involving a minor and the other a stolen cell phone, when they served a search warrant at the home Baumgartner shares with his parent in November 2013.
Baumgartner did not accept payment for any of the "cases" he reportedly worked on, authorities said, but took what he called "sworn statements" from victims, including the sexual assault victim.
The search warrant at the Baumgartner home also reportedly turned up multiple weapons, including assault-style rifles, registered to Baumgartner's father. Police said they found a semi-automatic pistol in Baumgartner's desk drawer, a rifle in his closet and two BB pistols that resembled real firearms. They also allegedly found a bulletproof vest, handcuffs and investigator badge in his vehicle, a Dodge Charger.
Court records state Baumgartner previously represented himself as a private, first class, who spent two years in the U.S. Army Reserves, including on an application to an area fire company, when he in fact was discharged from basic training after two months because he failed to pass physical fitness tests.
A LinkedIn profile for a man identified as Matthew Baumgartner states he works as a security officer, volunteer firefighter with a different fire company and as the director of the CCRA.
Baumgartner was arraigned by District Judge Maurice Saylor, of Gilbertsville, Feb. 18 on the two latest charges and was released on $20,000 unsecured bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 5 at 1 p.m. in Gilbertsville.