A 56-year-old Sandy Springs has been sentenced to federal prison for impersonating a U.S. marshal, federal officials said Feb. 11.

John Letcher Edens, a “skip tracer” who  located people in order to repossess vehicles, pleaded guilty in September to six counts of false impersonation of a U.S. officer, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney John A. Horn.

On Feb. 10, U.S. District Judge Eleanor L. Ross sentenced Edens to serve one year and one day, ordered him to serve three years of supervised release and to pay a special assessment of $600, the press release said.

Edens fraudulently represented that children had been kidnapped and were in immediate danger in order to trick a  cellular service provider into providing private citizens’ location information without a search warrant, the press release said.  In one instance, Edens even harassed a victim, according to the U.S. Attorneys office.

“Edens misrepresented that he was a U.S. marshal to gain sensitive personal information to use in his skip tracing business,” Horn said in the release.  “He abused the trust that is placed in law enforcement to make exigent requests for phone location data.  Instead of using the data to rescue kidnapped children, he used it to repossess cars.”

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.