The frequent Fox News commentator accused of lying about a lengthy CIA career to dupe the U.S. government into giving him jobs admitted as part of a plea deal Friday that there were “no records or any other evidence” to support his claim of having worked for the agency, though he still maintains that he did. Wayne Simmons, 62, pleaded guilty to major fraud against the United States, wire fraud and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He acknowledged that he made more than $78,000 from actual government contracting work he got in part because of his claim that he had worked for the CIA.
Prosecutors maintain that Simmons was a fraud, albeit a convincing one. By their account, he was a man beset by financial problems who used or tried to use his purported CIA affiliation to advance professionally and to wiggle out of personal jams.
U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente said after the hearing that whether Simmons admitted outright that he never worked for the CIA or conceded that prosecutors could prove as much at trial was “a distinction with absolutely no difference.” He said that prosecutors agreed to a plea to save the time and effort of a trial and to gain a certain result, and that they were satisfied.
Court records show Simmons faced tax liens totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years. And according to a recent filing from prosecutors, he “used his false claims of CIA affiliation to induce the IRS to abate approximately half a million dollars” in 2008.
In 2007, when he attacked a cabdriver in Annapolis, Simmons told the responding officers that he worked for the CIA and that the driver had a bomb, according to a police report. And in 2012, after his wife died of breast cancer, he tried to have her remains inurned at Arlington National Cemetery, citing his CIA work and his supposed transfer to the agency from the Navy, prosecutors alleged.
The plea agreement averts what surely would have been an interesting trial. Court records show prosecutors and defense attorneys were prepared to question various CIA employees and potentially even retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal as they sought to explore Simmons’s claims.