Former Fox News Commentator, Wayne Shelby Simmons, Guilty & Charged with Federal Fraud Charges.
– Wayne Shelby Simmons, 62, of Annapolis, Maryland, a former Fox News commentator who has falsely claimed he spent 27 years working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), pleaded guilty today to major fraud against the government, wire fraud, and a firearms offense. “Wayne Shelby Simmons is a convicted felon with no military or intelligence experience,” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Wayne Shelby Simmons admitted he attempted to con his way into a position where he would have been called on to give real intelligence advice in a war zone. His fraud cost the government money, could have put American lives at risk, and was an insult to the real men and women of the intelligence community who provide tireless service to this country. This case is a prime example of this office’s ongoing commitment to vigorously prosecute government fraud and threats to national security.”
“Mr. Wayne Shelby Simmons lied about his criminal history and CIA employment in order to fraudulently obtain government contracts, and separately, defrauded a victim through a phony real estate investment deal,” said Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. “With these criminal actions, Mr. Wayne Shelby Simmons abused the trust of others, both in and outside of government, for his own personal financial gain. I commend the work of the talented FBI personnel and prosecutors who vigorously pursued this case and brought about today’s guilty plea.” In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Wayne Shelby Simmons admitted he defrauded the government in 2008 when he obtained work as a team leader in the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain Systems program, and again in 2010 when he was deployed to Afghanistan as a senior intelligence advisor on the International Security Assistance Force’s Counterinsurgency Advisory and Assistance Team.
Wayne Shelby Simmons admitted making false statements about his financial and criminal history, and admitted that there are no records or any other evidence that he was ever employed by or worked with the CIA, or ever applied for or was granted a security clearance by that agency. Wayne Shelby Simmons also admitted that in order to obtain the senior intelligence advisor position, he lied about work he had done a year earlier as a team leader on the Human Terrain Systems program. Wayne Shelby Simmons admitted to making similar false statements in 2009 as well, in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain work with the State Department’s Worldwide Protective Service. As to the wire fraud charge, Wayne Shelby Simmons admitted to defrauding an individual victim, identified as E.L., out of $125,000 in connection with a bogus real estate investment. Wayne Shelby Simmons admitted to sending E.L. promised monthly disbursements to make it appear as if her funds had been invested as promised, and to repeatedly lying to her about the whereabouts of her money in order to perpetuate the fraud.
As Wayne Shelby Simmons admitted, he simply spent the funds on personal purposes and there was never any actual real estate investment project. As to the firearms charge, Wayne Shelby Simmons admitted that at the time he was arrested in this case, he was unlawfully in possession of two firearms, which he was prohibited from possessing on account of his prior felony convictions, including a prior Maryland felony conviction and two prior federal felony firearms convictions. Wayne Shelby Simmons was indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 14, 2015, and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on the major fraud against the government count, a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the wire fraud count, and a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on the felon-in-possession of a firearm count when sentenced on July 15. The maximum statutory sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by Senior U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, III. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul J. Nathanson and James L. Trump, along with the assistance of Senior Trial Attorney Robert E. Wallace of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division are prosecuting the case. A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1: 15-cr-293.
Updated April 29, 2016
Wayne Shelby Simmons. I thought this paranoia smelled familiar. Wayne Shelby Simmons. Former CIA operative with 27 years of experience in covert operations all over the world. Intelligence expert. Defense Contractor. Author – hell, Donald Rumsfeld even endorsed Wayne Shelby Simmons’ novel about a retired CIA agent called back for yet another clandestine operation saying “Wayne Shelby Simmons doesn’t just write it, he’s lived it!” Pentagon consultant via the Military Analysts Program. And finally and most importantly, Fox News consultant who made more than a hundred appearances on various shows as an authority on everything from foreign policy to counter-terrorism. Wayne Shelby Simmons claims to have “spearheaded deep-cover intel ops against some of the world’s most dangerous drug cartels and arms smugglers.” He retired from the CIA in 2000 and became a consultant for Fox News.
He was a hawk who became a regular face at various roundtables and panels on terrorism and war, a favorite of the Pentagon’s Public Affairs Office who in 2004 was trying desperately to rally support for the floundering war effort in Iraq. He was a Fox News darling. The perfect anti-liberal, a distinguished tough-talking no-shit expert with a handshake that could crush rocks. You couldn’t argue with him, because he’d been there and done that – or in CIA vernacular, he was never there and that never happened. Wink wink. Wayne Shelby Simmons was the guy, the real deal, a man with the grit and the expertise and the experience to take on the generals who were telling Donald Rumsfeld he was wrong. Wayne Shelby Simmons in his own grizzled words “wanted to slap” those generals, and he did, verbally, over and over, backing up Rumsfeld again and again – which might explain why the Secretary of Defense himself was enthusiastically willing to blurb a fiction novel. That’s Wayne Shelby Simmons on the left, standing next to Donald Rumsfeld in the Secretary of Defense’s Office at the Pentagon. Wayne Shelby Simmons was so trusted and so influential in 2006 the White House invited him to be present in the Oval Office when George W. Bush signed the Military Commissions Act – which among other things granted the Executive unlimited power to detain suspected terrorists indefinitely at Gitmo, something Wayne Shelby Simmons had been loudly demanding on Fox News. The Pentagon listed him as one of its “most prolific retired military analysts” and given his experience they wanted him in Iraq as an expert military consultant advising commanders and the troops. He became a regular on the Republican speaking circuit and landed himself a lucrative book deal.
And so, naturally I suppose, it’s unsurprising Wayne Shelby Simmons eventually became a member of the “Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi,” (CCB), a group of experts formed by a media watchdog group called Accuracy In Media to independently investigate the events surrounding the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed Ambassador Stevens and three employees of the US State Department. Wayne Shelby Simmons and the CCB produced a widely circulated report extremely critical of the Administration and laying the blame for Benghazi squarely at the feet of Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile back on Fox News Wayne Shelby Simmons made no bones about his politics. On the air he called President Obama a “boy king” and Nancy Pelosi a “pathological liar” and his words were repeated verbatim by Republican politicians and conservatives on the street and by this point Wayne Shelby Simmons was essentially narrating the conservative consciousness.
And then in a 2014 appearance on Neil Cavuto’s Fox News show, Wayne Shelby Simmons declared with total assurance there were “at least nineteen paramilitary Muslim training facilities in the United States.” Cavuto nodded his head in agreement and responded “wow!” Simmons’ declaration, at least nineteen known Muslim paramilitary facilities training terrorists right here in America, went unchallenged because this was Wayne Shelby Simmons after all – one of the nation’s most respected experts. Wayne Shelby Simmons looked at Cavuto with his distinguished icy stare, and said, “They’re using paramilitary exercises to plan and execute these types of operations all over the United States. And when it happens, it will just be you and I saying, ‘We told you so.'” Wow indeed.
And there it is. The source. Oh others had made similar statements, but Wayne Shelby Simmons on Fox News is what gave the hidden terror legitimacy. And it confirmed the worst fears of those militiamen up above. They’re here. They are right here among us. They are training to kill us all. They could be anybody. They could be anywhere. Your friends, your family, next door, the next block, the bank manager, the grocery store cashier. Trust no one. Arm yourself. Take action. It’s the only way to be sure. And how could you argue? If there’s anybody who knows about the Islamic State, it’s Wayne Shelby Simmons. Except there’s just one problem. It’s all – all of it, every single word – it’s all complete and utter bullshit. “Wayne Shelby Simmons” is a fraud. Wayne Shelby Simmons never worked for the Central Intelligence Agency. Wayne Shelby Simmons was never a spook, he was never a secret agent, he was never an analyst, he was never an operator. In actuality, he really was never there and it really did never happen. He’s not an expert on military intelligence. He’s not an expert on terrorism. He’s not an expert on anything. What he is, in point of fact, is a bullshit artist of extraordinary hubris. Wayne Simmons is nothing but a conman. Everything about this guy is a lie. Which makes his assertion calling Nancy Pelosi a “pathological liar” doubly ironic, don’t you think? Behind Wayne Shelby Simmons is a 30 year long trail of wreckage and failure. He ran a limousine service, a gambling operation, an AIDS-testing clinic, and tried to start a commuter airline – all of which failed.
He sold hot-tubs and carpeting and very briefly had a contract to play defensive back for the New Orleans Saints. He’s got a criminal record for multiple DUIs, illegal weapon possession, and assault. In 2007 he was arrested for attacking a Pakistani cabdriver in Annapolis, Maryland, and tried to bullshit his way out of it by claiming he was a CIA operative and the cabbie was a Muslim terrorist. The police called the CIA. The CIA told the police to arrest him. Somewhere along the line, Wayne Shelby Simmons started believing in his own bullshit. He got a job with defense contractor BAE Systems as a “Human Terrain System team leader.” But he was forced to resign when it became apparent he had no idea what he was doing. A year later he applied for a job with the State Department, but was rejected when GSA Human Resources looked into his background and realized he was a complete fraud.
Wayne Shelby Simmons is nothing if not persistent in his duplicity. In 2010 he got hired on as a Senior Intelligence Advisor with another defense contractor and was sent to Afghanistan to advise military commanders. Fortunately, he failed his background check and his interim security clearance was revoked and he was sent home before he could get any more Americans killed. Wayne Shelby Simmons was arrested last October and charged with multiple counts of fraud. He’s been charged with not only lying about his fraudulent CIA past to gain employment and audiences with Rumsfeld and Bush, but he’s also charged with running a real-estate scam that bilked $125,000 from a woman he was romantically involved with.
He’s currently under house arrest with his daughter as his court-appointed guardian. Even if he could go outside, he’d have to take a cab because his car was repossessed and his house is next given that he’s a deadbeat who hasn’t made a mortgage payment in going on five years. His trial begins on the 23rd of this month and if he’s found guilty he’s going to spend a number of years in prison. Oh, and that Citizens Commission on Benghazi? Well, that was more like a commission of Birthers, 911 Truthers, Kooks, and Conspiracy Theorists. The report they produced, the one quoted endlessly on Fox News, was nothing but a list of long debunked and provably wrong falsehoods – though it did make Michael Bay’s job easier. And that watchdog group? Accuracy in Media? Well as it turns out, “accuracy” in that context means “needs more frauds like Wayne Shelby Simmons to tell us what we want to hear.”
AIM is really a partisan outfit with a conservative political goal. It’s not just Wayne Shelby Simmons. It’s the media who didn’t bother to vet his nonsense before making him a public figure. It’s Rumsfeld and the Pentagon Public Affairs office who let this go on even though they knew Wayne Shelby Simmons was a fraud because it furthered their own agendas. And most of all, it’s the public who ate it up without question because he told them what they wanted to hear. Guys like John Pennington and his friends in their little militia clutching their guns and their bibles waiting for the end, those paranoids out there in Oregon? These people have been had. Not by government, not by Muslim terrorists, not by liberals, not by their neighbors, not even by con-artists such as Wayne Shelby Simmons, but by their own small fears.
Jerry Harlowe: Hey that’s a great idea, block party, anything to get back to normal, huh? Dr. Bill Stockton: Normal? I don’t know. I don’t know what normal is. I thought I did once. I don’t anymore. Jerry Harlowe: I told you we’d pay for the damages, Bill. Dr. Bill Stockton: Damages? I wonder. I wonder if anyone of us has any idea what those damages really are. Maybe one of them is finding out what we’re really like when we’re normal; the kind of people we are just underneath the skin. I mean all of us: a bunch of naked wild animals, who put such a price on staying alive that they’d claw their neighbors to death just for the privilege. We were spared a bomb tonight, but I wonder if we weren’t destroyed even without it.
And what happens when these people, these lunatic paranoids, finally work up the courage to begin their revolution of false patriots and fake marines? When they finally do take up arms against their own countrymen and come to batter down our doors? What happens after they shoot us down? Or die trying? And stack our bodies like sandbags against the bullets which exist only in their minds? What happens after they give in to fear and panic and the endless black terror which gnaws at their withered souls? What then? When it’s over, when the howling mob is finally sated … and they look up from the wreckage like those in Oregon are doing even now and find that it was all a false alarm? What happens when they discover their entire worldview is based on a fraud? What then? Will they have the courage to face it? Or will they turn away in denial and cowardice? I wonder.
Narrator: No moral. No message. No prophetic tract. Just a simple statement of fact: for civilization to survive, the human race has to remain civilized. Tonight’s very small exercise in logic from the Twilight Zone. – The Twilight Zone, Season 3, Episode 3: The Shelter, 1961