A very talented fraudster managed to pass himself off as a former CIA operative in frequent appearances on Fox News over the last 13 years, prosecutors say. Wayne Simmons, 62, was arrested yesterday and accused of lying about serving as an "Outside Paramilitary Special Operations Officer" from 1973 to 2000, Reuters reports. He faces charges including major fraud against the US because he not only fooled Fox, he used his lies about CIA service to obtain security clearances and an assignment as an adviser to senior military personnel overseas, reports CNNMoney. On his website, Simmons claims to have "spearheaded Deep Cover Intel Ops" against drug cartels and to have been a Fox terrorism analyst since 2002.
Simmons appeared on Fox dozens of times, though a spokeswoman tells CNN that Simmons was "never a contributor for Fox News," just an unpaid guest. Simmons' claims of CIA service have raised eyebrows in the past, officials tell CNN, but he was able to fake a top-secret background because intelligence agencies don't tend to comment on former operatives. The CIA says it's working closely with the Justice Department on the case. Simmons is also accused of swindling somebody out of $125,000 in a real estate scam and faces up to 35 years in prison if found guilty on all charges, according to the indictment.