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June 2015


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Former DEA Agent Indicted For Fraud in a Case In Which He Posed as an FBI Agent

By Allan Lengel

A former DEA agent has been charged with fraud in a scheme in which he allegedly posed as an active FBI agent and helped a person who posed as a former federal prosecutor defraud a man who enlisted their help to recover money in a fraud scheme.

David Garcia Herrera, 70, of Torrance,Calif. was arrested last week at Los Angeles International Airport by the FBI last week.

Herrera is one of two defendants. The second defendant, —Jerome Arthur Whittington, 65, of La Quinta, Calif. who who allegedly posed as a successful attorney and told at least one victim that he was a former federal prosecutor.

A press release issued last week stated:

In the indictment filed last week, Whittington and Herrera allegedly joined forces to defraud two victims, one of whom lost money in fraudulent investments, and another who was trying to obtain immigration benefits for his wife.

In the first scheme, Whittington posed as an attorney and Herrera pretended to be an FBI special agent as they falsely promised the victim they could help him recover losses in fraudulent schemes related to two companies, Pacific Property Assets and Medical Capital Corporation. Whittington and Herrera told the victim that they were able to seize assets from the two fraudulent companies, but the victim needed to provide money that would be used to “post bonds” that were required prior to seizing the assets. After Whittington claimed that he had obtained a $4 million judgment, Whittington told the victim that representatives from the companies and other victims were very angry and that he should leave the country to avoid confrontations and harassment.

The victim paid Whittington approximately $290,000 for help in recovering his losses, but Whittington simply used the money for his own person expenses, which included making payments to other victims of his scheme and to Herrera.

In the second scheme discussed in this month’s indictment, Whittington also posed as an attorney. Herrera told the victim in this second scheme that he was an investigator with the FBI and that Whittington was a former federal prosecutor. Based on these and other false statements and promises, the victim retained Whittington and paid approximately $8,500 for assistance in his wife’s immigration case—help that was never provided.

Whittington and Herrera are also charged with making false statements on a passport application. In relation to this count, Herrera allegedly falsely stated that he had been a personal friend of Whittington for seven years.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in court.

If they are convicted of the nine counts in the indictments, both defendants would face a statutory maximum penalty of 170 years in federal prison.

Whittington also faces two counts of wire fraud contained in an indictment filed just over one year ago. That indictment alleges that Whittington used lies and misrepresentations—including pretending to be an attorney—to convince one victim to invest in a real estate deal and another to put money into a business venture involving an Internet browser, both of which were fraudulent. As a result of the two schemes outlined in this indictment, the two victims lost approximately $165,000.

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