Former Fox News commentator sentenced to prison for faking CIA ties
A man who has appeared on Fox News as a guest “terrorism analyst” was sentenced to 33 months in prison on Friday on charges that he fraudulently claimed to have been a CIA agent for decades, U.S. prosecutors said.
Wayne Simmons, 62, of Annapolis, Maryland, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
“Wayne Simmons is a fraud. Simmons has no military or intelligence background, or any skills relevant to the positions he attained through his fraud,” said Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III also sentenced Simmons to serve three years of supervised release, to forfeit two firearms and $176,000 in criminal proceeds and to pay restitution.
Simmons had appeared on Fox News, a unit of 21st Century Fox and the top-ranked U.S. cable television news network, as an unpaid guest analyst on terrorism since 2002.
A grand jury indicted him in October for portraying himself as an “Outside Paramilitary Special Operations Officer” for the Central Intelligence Agency from 1973 to 2000.
Instead of working for the CIA, Simmons’ jobs during that period included nightclub doorman, bookie, manager of a rent-by-the-hour hot tub business, mortgage broker and defensive back for the National Football League’s New Orleans Saints, the statement said.
A Fox News spokesman could not be reached for immediate comment. Simmons’ lawyer, William Cummings, said he and his client had hoped for a lighter sentence.
Simmons pleaded guilty in April to charges of major fraud against the U.S. government, wire fraud and a firearms offense.
Simmons admitted that he defrauded the government in 2008 when he got work as a team leader in an Army program, and again in 2010 when he was deployed to Afghanistan as an intelligence adviser.
He said he made similar false statements in a 2009 bid to get work with the State Department’s Worldwide Protective Service.
Simmons also admitted to defrauding an unidentified woman out of $125,000 in a bogus real estate investment. When he was arrested, Simmons illegally possessed two firearms, which he was barred from having because of prior felonies, including a state conviction and two federal firearms violations.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Tom Brown)