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Online impersonation case ends in plea deal

Posted at 4:37 PM, Feb 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-23 18:43:45-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A case of online impersonation has ended in a plea deal with federal prosecutors.

The incident began in 2020 with racist Facebook comments on a news station's page, purporting to be from Amber Criddle, the wife of a Kaysville police officer. Except it wasn't her, but someone impersonating her online.

At a news conference at the Utah State Capitol on Wednesday, Criddle and her husband, Officer Mike Criddle, reflected on the furor surrounding the social media posts. They received death threats and harassment to the point that they were forced to move.

Earlier this week, Sambulique Swallow, of North Las Vegas, reached a deferred prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors to a cyberstalking charge. The agreement means that if she abides by the terms of the plea deal, the case will be dismissed. In a document filed in federal court, Swallow admitted to posing as Criddle

"I cannot tell you how liberating this moment is for me and my entire family," Amber Criddle told reporters. "After a lengthy FBI investigation and three convictions, you all now know what we have claimed from the very beginning."

The Criddles were joined by Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, R-Clearfield, who passed a bill last year criminalizing online impersonation. Federal prosecutors handled the case involving the Criddles because it crossed state lines, but Rep. Lisonbee said her law is there for people to use.

"It’s a widespread problem. There’s a lot of online impersonation that happens," said Rep. Lisonbee. "It just takes somebody finding out about it, reporting it and having it prosecuted. Now we have a law in place to do that."