Whitefish man claiming to be a former CIA agent admits scheme to defraud investor of $2.3 million to fund bogus “off the books” rescue missions
MISSOULA – A Whitefish man accused of defrauding another man of $2.3 million by claiming he was a former CIA agent and needed money to fund “off the books” rescue missions for the CIA but instead used the money for personal expenses admitted charges today, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.
Matthew Anthony Marshall, 51, pleaded guilty to wire fraud, money laundering and tax evasion as charged in a second superseding indictment. Marshall faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release on the most serious charge of wire fraud.
A plea agreement filed in the case calls for eight other counts to be dismissed at sentencing if the court accepts the agreement. In addition, restitution is mandatory, and Marshall agrees to be responsible for complete restitution. The government will request restitution of approximately $2,355,000 for the wire fraud and $899,327 for tax evasion for tax years 2013 through 2016. The final figure of fraud restitution will be determined at sentencing.
U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided. Judge Molloy will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Marshall is to be sentenced on March 3, 2022. Marshall was released pending further proceedings.
In court documents, the government alleged that in the spring of 2013, Marshall began working for the victim, identified as John Doe, in Montana. Marshall convinced Doe that he was a former CIA agent and a former member of an elite Force Reconnaissance unit in the U.S. Marine Corps who had engaged in covert missions around the world. In fact, Marshall was never affiliated with the CIA in any capacity and never served in an elite Force Reconnaissance unit in the Marine Corps. Marshall received an Other Than Honorable discharge from the Marine Corps Reserve in November 1999 after accumulating 82 absences from inactive duty training.
Marshall asked Doe if he would fund “off the books” CIA-backed missions, which Marshall said would involve assault teams he would lead on rescue and other operations in foreign countries. Based on Marshall’s false representations, Doe wired large sums of money, totaling about $2,355,000, to Marshall at least six times, all under the guise of funding missions for the CIA as described by Marshall. Doe first wired Marshall $400,000 in April 2013 for an “off the books” paramilitary mission to Mexico. Marshall asked Doe for money for more purported missions from October 2013 until March 2016, and Doe wired Marshall additional sums.
Marshall did not use the money from Doe for any missions, to Mexico or anywhere else. Instead, Marshall spent the money on personal expenses and loans and gifts to friends and family members. Marshall also failed to report money received from Doe in 2013 for two purported missions as income on his tax return, resulting in a tax evasion of $356,756.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy J. Racicot and Ryan G. Weldon are prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation and FBI.