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Greenville man who impersonated SBI agent gets prison time

100417 Ricky Jay Ball

Ricky Jay Ball


The Daily Reflector

Thursday, December 7, 2017

A Greenville man who once pretended to be an SBI agent and a Navy Seal was sentenced to eight years in a federal penitentiary on other charges.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Malcolm J. Howard sentenced Ricky Jay Ball, 40, to the eight-year prison sentence, followed by three years of supervised release. Ball pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a felon, two counts of obstruction of justice and one count of altering a military discharge certificate.

The FBI began investigating Ball in May 2015 after receiving information from the Greenville Police Department that Ball claimed to work for the State Bureau of Investigation, according to a news release from the office of Robert J. Higdon, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Ball told an intern at Greenville Fire-Rescue that he was in court often due to his job and he obtained warrants on individuals for committing crimes as part of his job. He told the intern he could get her parking tickets dismissed, but when she received a late notice in the mail for the unpaid parking tickets, she began to get suspicious.

In early November of 2015, Ball’s name appeared in police reports as the loss prevention officer for Sears in Greenville, and he established a working relationship with members of the Greenville Police Department and the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office and asked some of them if they wanted to shoot with him at the firing range.

According to the Greenville Police Department, he once responded to assist EMS with a medical emergency and was observed to be in possession of blue light, a silver badge and handgun in a holster, and he had a history of impersonating an officer in Guilford and Alamance counties.

He was convicted in Guilford County in 2005 of possession of a firearm of a felon and impersonating an peace officer and was convicted in Alamance County in 2013 of impersonating a peace officer.

A detective with the sheriff’s office saw him with a pistol on April 28, 2016, while Ball was employed at Sears, the news release said. The detective documented his observation discovering Ball was a convicted felon.

An interview with Ball’s store manager at Sears revealed that the manager observed Ball in possession of a badge and firearm during his employment at Sears, and on May 28, 2016, Greenville police arrested Ball for impersonating a law enforcement officer. 

During a search of his residence, the sheriff’s office seized a 9mm pistol, four pistol magazines and numerous rounds of ammunition from his bedroom closet. Law enforcement later learned the firearm was purchased by a man in Asheville and when the seller was interviewed by investigators, he stated he sold the firearm to a man who identified himself as Ricky Bennett, which is an alias of Ball’s.

He told investigators that Ball showed him his military identification and that Ball claimed he had trained with the U.S. Navy Seals. On June 6, 2016, Greenville plice charged Ball with possession of a firearm by a felon.

On May 17, 2017, a probation violation hearing was held in the U.S. Magistrate Court in New Bern to revoke Ball’s federal probation based on his conduct of possessing a firearm as a felon and impersonating law enforcement. During the hearing, Ball submitted numerous false and fabricated documents to the court. They included fraudulent letters from his employer, community-services providers and medical providers.

Additionally, Ball altered a military discharge certificate and changed his separation from the U.S. Marine Corps from “involuntary” to “medical.”

On Nov. 12, 2015, Ball received a two-year probationary sentenced in the Eastern District of Virginia, following misdemeanor convictions for violation of defense property security regulations and possession of false identification for his conduct in impersonating a United States Navy Seal. On Aug. 5, 2016, his supervision was transferred to the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Peggah B. Wilson handled the prosecution of the case for the government.


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Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Crime and Rescue

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