WASHINGTON — The Justice Department said Tuesday it is reviewing a woman’s complaint that a Drug Enforcement Administration agent set up a fake Facebook account using her identity.
Sondra Arquiett, who was arrested on drug charges 2010 for her role in a suspected drug distribution network, is suing the agent in federal court in the Northern District, in upstate New York. The case is scheduled go to trial in Albany, New York.
In her complaint filed last year, Arquiett said DEA Agent Timothy Sinnigen used photographs from her phone, which authorities confiscated after her arrest. The Facebook account was set up as a way to contact other people in the investigation.
Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement that officials are reviewing the practice of creating a fake online profile, although in court papers the department defended it.
Arquiett said in her filing that she suffered “fear and great emotional distress” and was endangered because the fake page gave the impression that she was cooperating with Sinnigen’s ongoing investigation.
Arquiett was initially charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in 2011.
Lawyers for Arquiett did not immediately respond to emailed and telephone requests for comment. Arquiett did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.