TV analyst who claimed to be ex-CIA charged with fraud

WASHINGTON (AFP) - He claimed to have been a "deep cover" agent for CIA clandestine operations and used that to become a guest television analyst on Fox News and a military consultant.

But prosecutors say Wayne Simmons is nothing but a liar.

An indictment unsealed on Thursday (Oct 15) in a Virginia federal court charged the 62-year-old, a guest terrorism commentator on Fox, with multiple counts of fraud.

According to the indictment, Simmons falsely claimed to have worked as an "outside paramilitary special operations officer" for the Central Intelligence Agency from 1973 to 2000, and used that false claim to attempt to obtain government security clearances.

Simmons did at one point become an intelligence advisor to US military personnel, and the indictment claims he defrauded the government with his false claims.

He ended up working for three government contractors - not identified in the indictment - and was paid on the basis of "materially false and fraudulent pretenses," the indictment said.

Simmons also co-authored a spy novel that appeared to have been loosely based on his purported exploits, which is sold on Amazon.com.

In his author profile on Amazon, he claims to have "spearheaded Deep Cover Intel Ops against some of the world's most dangerous drug cartels from Central and South America and the Middle East."

The profile also says his operations "helped lead to the seizures of marijuana, cocaine and heroin with a combined value of over $1 billion."

His biography goes on to say he was "one of the first outside Intelligence officers" to visit the US detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and "was given the distinguished honor to serve as a consultant to the Bush White House to assist in the construction of the Military Commissions Act of 2006."

In the indictment, Simmons was also charged with making fraudulent representations in a real estate deal.

Prosecutors said Simmons could face up to 20 years in prison on fraud counts and additional penalties if convicted on related charges. The government is also seeking restitution of $175,000.